By Alessia Montecalvo, G11

With the heat of March each year comes whispers of ISPP’s high school formal; yes, it’s here…again. The same event you’ve been going to all of high school — entwined with the pain of wearing heels for four hours straight and the butterflies of slow-dancing with your crush. So, you ask yourself: is it worth it? Is it worth $48, a whirlwind of last-minute shopping to find the perfect dress or tux, the anxiety of having to ask someone to be your date? After all, you know how it’s gonna go, right?

Here’s what you don’t know. This year’s senior formal will be something else entirely; it will be a night under the stars. Okay, sure that sounds cheesy, but I assure you, the student council, in conjunction with the formal committee volunteers, are reimagining everything this year. They have confirmed a new venue 36 stories above the bustling streets of Phnom Penh, bringing you as close to the constellations as you can get: the famed Rosewood Hotel. Can you see it — stepping into a swift elevator, lifting you away from the ground, washing away toxic thoughts of exams and presentations and summative assessments, the doors opening in a place nestled in the heavens, it seems. The floor to ceiling windows overlooking the city, glinting in the black of night, will pose as the perfect photo op. As for the food, a very enticing menu awaits, tailored elegantly by the hotel chef. The organizers have promised that the space will accommodate everything — fine dining as well as music you can actually dance to, all encased in a realm of incandescent firefly lights and striking celestial blue and white decor. It might just be written in the stars that this will be one of those nights, the thrilling and wild kind, perfect and weightless but not one that you’ll ever get back.

So, now the choice is yours. Will you trust in your student council, members of the secondary who have watched and waited for years for their chance to elevate the annual (and admittedly, sometimes dreary) formal, to stitch together an evening of sweet release and tantalizing luxury for you? Or, you could just sit this one out. But you might be losing out on one of the most quintessential high school experiences of your life. The bittersweet truth about high school — hold on while I get sentimental here — is that this is your youth. Your reckless and unforgettable years, the ones for catching fleeting memories, maybe even slipping up and making some mistakes, alongside the people with whom you have suffered all the triumphs and pitfalls of academia (yes, the ones who might be the reason you survive the IB). And this is the event that will commemorate your whole high school career, shimmering amongst a plethora of memories.

Forget everything you think you know about ISPP formals. The 2020 formal isn’t one you want to miss. It’s one night of your life — and who knows what the stars have in store for you.

Will you be attending the 2020 formal, a Night under the Stars? Take the poll below to see who is!

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