UHS Hosts Record-Breaking Homecoming Dance

The UHS Homecoming dance was hosted at AV Irvine this year.

Roger Xu

The UHS Homecoming dance was hosted at AV Irvine this year.

Tracy Le, Staff Writer

After an exhilarating Spirit Week, UHS’ Homecoming dance was hosted on Oct. 1, signifying a positive return to large in-person events since the start of the pandemic. This year, over 1,200 students attended the dance at AV Irvine, which marked the largest attendance for a UHS dance in recent memory. 

As a playlist of pop and hip-hop songs set the tone for the night, students were invited to participate in a variety of activities, including a photo booth, a gaming center, numerous food trucks and even a 360-degree video booth.

Leading up to the dance, many people took to Instagram to participate in the popular tradition of asking out fellow students. Members from each grade took part in a range of “askings,” which were displayed through the UHS Askings Instagram account (@uhsaskings). The most liked Homecoming asking post came from junior Zephyr Reynolds, who asked junior Brooke Hilgert from Newport Harbor. The elaborate asking featured a unique candle and fireworks display.

“I was really glad the fireworks managed to set off and made my asking extra special,” Reynolds said.

For the Class of 2023, this dance marked the final Homecoming of high school. Many seniors shared feelings of nostalgia as they took to the Homecoming dance floor one last time.

“It was exciting and heartwarming to be back with my peers at Homecoming for the last time and to enjoy my last [Homecoming dance] with music and people I love,” senior Kashish Sachdeva said.

Meanwhile, for the Class of 2026, many were excited to experience their first-ever Homecoming dance.

“Going to the Homecoming dance made me feel like I was going to an upbeat yet high-end party because everyone was dressed so nicely,” freshman Sodongoo Sodtuya said. “High school dance events and middle school dance events are so different; there is a huge gap in a good way.” 

One of the highlights of the dance was the return of the spacious indoor venue and added lighting effects, which transformed the venue into the students’ own UNI-verse.

“My favorite thing about HOCO was it being indoors for the first time in my high school experience as Class of 24,” junior Eliana Sloshana said. “It was really cool to have it in a bigger space and AV Irvine was an awesome venue with the confetti, balloons and fog.”

However, given the event’s high attendance numbers, some students expressed concerns about traffic congestion near the venue.

“The traffic getting from and to AV Irvine was a concern,” Sloshana said. “There were long lines of cars and I had to wait for a very long time before I got picked up.”

Nevertheless, many considered the dance a success. Senior Shannon Hegarty, who was crowned Homecoming Queen the previous night, expressed her appreciation for the dance’s organization.

“I am so grateful for my class and everyone who coordinated the dance,” Hegarty said. “Homecoming has always been my favorite dance, but I can’t lie that it was nice knowing that I was featured for such a special event.”

As Homecoming weekend came to a close, many students began looking forward to the upcoming dances scheduled later this year.

“As a student who has low expectations of dances, I highly encourage everyone, regardless if you are a freshman, to attend future UHS school dances,” Sodtuya said. “You can make so many friends and on top of that enjoy an unforgettable experience that can leave a long-lasting impression on yourself and those around you.”