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The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

Junior Banquet offers a “red carpet” tour

Juniors+getting+ready+to+board+the+Skyline+Princess+
Emily Zheng
Juniors getting ready to board the Skyline Princess
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As the 2024 academic year is coming to an end, students of all grades eagerly await trips and celebrations. For juniors, the annual Junior Banquet is a target of particular  excitement.

This year, the event took place aboard the ship “Skyline Princess” in the World’s Fair Marina and featured a Hollywood and Red Carpet theme.

On May 23, juniors boarded the ship to enjoy a lively night of socialization and sightseeing. For many, this trip also served as a time to wind down and have fun with peers after taking the Advanced Placement Pre-Calculus exam earlier that day.

Senior Advisor Blayne Gelbman said that he, Ms. Baranoff, and the Student Union were the event’s main organizers. He said, “[we] organized the boat, reserved it, made contacts for [the reservations], and handled all of the payments.”

“The boat was pretty easy because it’s all in one spot—the food, the DJ—it comes as a package,” he said. “[Also], we didn’t have to promote [the event]. It was up to the students—the junior grade leaders handled all the marketing, so whatever they did online was all up to them.”

Many faculty members attended as student chaperones, including AP Research and AP U.S. History teacher, Eleni Sardina.

“As a chaperone, we [had to] keep an eye on everybody,” said Ms. Sardina. “We had to split up because [there were] three floors, and we have to make sure that there’s a [certain] number of adults on each floor. I think that it worked out well, because it allowed me to go on the dance floor, sit down, eat my meal, and take part in [seeing] the views.”

“I loved [Junior Banquet]. I felt like it was the first time a big chunk of our grade came together to do something social, which made the experience feel much more fun,” said junior Vivian Oksenhendler. “I feel like I got closer with people that I haven’t talked to in a while, so I enjoyed it.”

Similarly, junior Tristin Hall said, “I really liked that the boat was spacious, as I was concerned that if many people went, there would not be enough space for everyone,”. She added, “Additionally, I appreciated how even though it was a school event, the teachers were hands-off and we had enough independence to be on the boat together.”

In addition to the music and catering, students enjoyed the event’s sightseeing aspect, ranging from the city’s night views to monumental landmarks.

“We saw the Statue of Liberty, which was awesome,” said Vivian. “The moon was very bright that night, and I personally enjoyed passing under the bridges.”

Junior Alex Yauri shared similar sentiments regarding the scenery. “It was a wonderful experience, admiring the views in New York City with my friends, especially since I haven’t been on a boat in quite a long time,” he said.

Although attendees generally enjoyed the event and its organization, they also had some criticisms they hope will be taken into account for the following year..

“I do think that it was well run, but the only issue was that there wasn’t enough seating on the second floor, which forced students to carry chairs for themselves from the bottom floor to the top,” said Vivian. “Also, there could have been more fans, since it was really hot.”

Tristin explained that many students expected the price of the Banquet to be cheaper than $110. She said, “With the raise in price, it almost deters a lot of people from going, and takes away from the fun of the event [for attendees] because you are constantly trying to get your money’s worth.”

When asked about students’ financial concerns about the event, Mr. Gelbman said that the organizers had already been discussing possible solutions for next year.“They’re already considering a different venue,” he said. “ [The cost] is probably the biggest obstacle for the students, [but] that can be decreased with fundraisers. If that class becomes creative, we can definitely drop that cost.”

Despite this, many students expressed how attending Junior Banquet made them more eager for next year’s senior prom.

“I feel like the Banquet was almost like a pre-prom,” said Tristin.

“Personally, I had such a great time, so I can imagine how fun prom will be,” said Vivian.

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Emily Zheng
Emily Zheng, Photography Staff Member
Emily is a freshman at Townsend Harris High School and a staff photographer for The Classic.
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