Banning the Ball: Annual Cheer Ball canceled due to misbehavior; participants disappointed in elimination of tradition

Riley Miller, Opinion Editor

Every year, the Blue Valley Dance Team, cheerleaders and their dates are invited to the annual “Cheer Ball,” a dance including schools in the BV School District, the Olathe School District and the Shawnee Mission School District. However, the behavior at the previous dance hosted at BV North resulted in its cancellation for all schools invited.
Varsity cheerleader junior Lexi Ison said she liked Cheer Ball more than the Homecoming and Sweetheart dances she attended.
“I have a lot of cheerleader friends from other schools, so it’s cool getting to come together and seeing different people and meeting different people,” she said. “Cheer Ball is one of the best dances.”
Varsity cheerleader junior Jordan Chalker said several students from other schools were intoxicated at the dance last year — one of the main reasons why the dance was canceled.
“Last year was probably one of the worst,” Chalker said. “There were two or three party buses that got pulled over, and everyone on them was drunk. People were showing up to the dance completely drunk.”
Varsity cheerleader junior Sarani Pachalla said although she had fun and wishes it wouldn’t have been canceled, last year’s dance became too out of hand due to the lack of supervision.
“[People were] hiding in trash cans, running around and taking off their dresses at the dance,” she said. “And since it’s a dance for cheerleaders, there were people stunting — like the stunts that we throw up in the air.”
Varsity cheerleader captain senior Morgan Turner said her Cheer Ball experience was eventful as well.
“We were sitting down waiting to leave, and we saw a guy running from the dance because the cops had found out he was drinking,” she said. “He didn’t get caught because he ran and jumped into a trash can.”
Chalker said she was upset to hear Cheer Ball was canceled because she had so much fun in previous years.
“It was something that was special for just cheerleaders and dancers, and it was something that brought us all together,” she said.
“It was a bonding experience, and, personally, I don’t feel it’s fair they punished every single school just because of a few schools’ actions.”
Turner said it’s always been an expectation that many students will be under the influence at Cheer Ball.
Pachalla said the cheerleading squad has made their own traditions for Cheer Ball, but unfortunately, one of their favorites ends this year.
“It’s a tradition on BV cheer that the varsity [squad] gets a party bus — a clean party bus,” she said. “We were looking forward to that because we’re on varsity this year.”
Turner said Cheer Ball will always be her favorite dance, and she’ll always cherish the memories she gained.
“I think you share a lot of similar characteristics if you’re a cheerleader or dancer,” she said. “You’re going to want to have a good time; you’re going to be loud; you’re going to be funny; you’re going to love to dance.”
Chalker said Cheer Ball was very different from other school dances, and the students who attend aren’t afraid to have fun or be themselves.
“I feel like it’s because your entire grade isn’t there — there’s no pressure from the different cliques that there are,” she said. “Everyone’s just one big group.”
Pachalla said when she was a freshman, the senior cheerleaders made a big deal out of Cheer Ball in order to get the new cheerleaders pumped up about it.
“At the banquet at the end of the year, the seniors give speeches, and there’s always, like, five whole minutes dedicated to how much fun they had at Cheer Ball,” she said.
Turner said she’s especially upset because she won’t be able to experience Cheer Ball as a senior.
“It was something everyone looked forward to the entire year,” she said. “It was just so sad — I cried because it got canceled. I think it’s hard for people to understand why it’s such a big deal being canceled if you’ve never been to it.”
In lieu of the traditional Cheer Ball dance sponsored by the District, It’s Your Party KC recently volunteered to host the event for the cheerleaders, dancers and their dates. While it is not school-sponsored, it will be similar to the previous dances.