January 29, 2020

OPINION: Cotillion – successful or too stressful?

January 9, after months of hype, Cotillion took place at the Back Bay Events Center. The event succeeded in keeping guests from coming or bringing any illegal substances; however, many guest, including myself, wondered why it seems so hard for high school students go three hours without drinking and still have fun.
This year the committee made extensive efforts to uphold the zero tolerance policy of drugs, and smoking products. This included telling guests they would be subjected to bag searches, pat-downs of jackets, and random breathalyzer tests. Rumors also circulated before the event happened about a quiet bathroom policy. While guests like myself took these things into consideration before attending, we felt that the event would be not be as enjoyable and that the chaperones would be watching our every move. Fortunately, the Committee barely used any of these precautions at the actual event.
The big changes, and attempts to control drinking, happened before the event itself. The bus system was the biggest change in the event since last year. The event committee required guests to show up at the high school between 6:30 and 6:50 and get on one of the 13 or so buses heading to Back Bay events center. Guests who arrived early got to the convention center well before 7:30, the scheduled start time. Other guests who came near the end of the 6:30-6:50 time frame arrived much later, and waited in the high school cafeteria for over a half an hour.
The buses also left at different times. In fact the first wave of guests left at 10 o’clock, 30 minutes before the event ended. Additionally, the last wave of guests did not leave the convention center until 11, 30 minutes after the event ended, and an hour after the first wave of guests.
Although the buses helped parent chaperones and coordinators control what guests did before arriving,  they also angered many guests who believed that they spent significantly less time at the event than many of their friends. Some guests also claim that the music got better as the night progressed and got disappointed that they missed it to get on their bus.
The Cotillion committee also added a no coat policy this year. Guests could not bring their coats to the event and Committee members told to guests who violated this policy to leave them at the school. Unfortunately for guests who did not dress weather-appropriately, the temperature outside was  24 degrees. The “door to door service” promised in an email sent out to guests earlier in the week made false promises:  guests had to wait outside to cross the street to enter the convention center. These circumstances made many guests, including myself, very angry at and mad at the committee for enforcing this policy.
While I believe the precautions taken were extensive, I also believe they are a reflection of the behavior of former Cotillion-goers, not current students. This year’s Cotillion gave guests the opportunity to prove to the Committee and the community that they can have a good time without the influence of drugs or alcohol, though it is rather sad that guests needed to be watched so closely in order to achieve this. Hopefully the success of this Cotillion will lead to positive changes in the future.
All in all, the event ran relatively smoothly. I think that while effective, the enforcement used to carry out the zero tolerance policy of drugs, and smoking products could be toned down in the future if guests continue to remain of good behavior. However, I think much of the teenage community in Wellesley now has a new understanding on how to have fun without breaking laws or Cotillion policy.
(Celia Golod ’17, Features Editor)

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