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The Bayhawk Bearer

The Bayhawk Bearer

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Bellingham High School’s 2024 TOLO, “BAY2K”

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Students at BHS’s 2024 TOLO dance, themed “BAY2K.”

Bellingham High School’s annual TOLO dance was officially announced on February 23rd, 2024, with the scheduled, fan-favorite theme of “A Night of Nostalgia” paired with the name, “BAY2K.” Similar to last year’s title of, “Baychella,” the word “BAY2K” is a play on the term, “Y2K,” which stands for “Year 2000.” By far, many agree that Leadership and ASB did an excellent job choosing this team, as over the past year, an undoubtable rise in Y2K fashion has been seen through different forms of social media, even though many students today may recognize the apparel from their favorite childhood shows like Teen Titans, Lizzy McGuire, H2O: Just Add Water, and Wizards of Waverly Place. Not only does TOLO this year give students the opportunity to dress like their favorite characters from their childhood shows, but TOLO at Bellingham also means a handful of things: class skits, spirit week, surveys on suggested music, and the traditional “girls ask guys” tradition that sprouts from the first ever TOLO, also known as the “Sadie Hawkins dance.”

The name of the word “TOLO” has a long history rooted in the Pacific Northwest. The idea was first introduced when a group of women came together from the University of Washington’s Mortar Board, to create the “Tolo Club,” a space that would allow women’s voices to be uplifted. The club was named after the Chinook word that means success and achievement; “Tolo.” To raise funds for the group, the members held a dance where the girls of the club would ask the men, and this tradition is still observed in the Pacific Northwest today.

Though, something’s peculiar about the annual TOLO dance at Bellingham, as it lands on Friday, March 8th. Most dances at BHS are typically on Saturdays, which gives students time to take photos with friends beforehand, get ready together, and catch dinner. But this year, the times have changed, with doors opening at 8:00PM and the dance ending at 10:00PM, giving a whopping two hours for all students to enjoy the dance. Despite the dance being squished on a Friday night, ASB and Leadership made many efforts to increase student participation at this year’s TOLO, sending out a survey on February 20th, asking for song requestions, who planned on going, and if they should change the regulations on guest contracts. While the turnout of the survey participation was never revealed, ASB stopped at nothing, even holding an assembly to discuss class skits in different parts of the school. Class meetings were held in the following areas:

9th – Gym

10th – PAC

11th – Commons

12th – Library

By the end of the of each class meeting, each grade decided on a theme for their skit, with the setlist for the pre-TOLO assembly looking a lot like this:

            9th – Dora The Explorer

            10th – High School Musical

            11th – Phineas & Ferb

            12th – Teen Beach Movie

Five judges determined which class put in the most work for the skits, with the class of 2026’ (sophomores) taking both the class cup, and winning the TOLO skit competition by keeping their head in the game with plenty of participation in their High School Musical act.  The seniors, with their Teen Beach Movie performance, put up a good fight and definitely lived up to the iconic Disney Channel original movie. But, with the sophomores sweeping two awards in one assembly, it begs the question: How does the class cup work?

At BHS, the class cup is a friendly competition amongst grades that crowns a winner based off of the number of students from that grade participated in spirit week, votes usually being counted during the first period of each day. Like Homecoming, TOLO also calls for a spirit week, just with skits instead of decorating halls. Having the theme of nostalgia and Y2K, Leadership and ASB made sure to represent that with each weekday following up to the dance, which structured spirit week as:

Monday – Younger You/White

Tuesday – Duo Day/Green

Wednesday – “On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink!”

Thursday – VSCO vs Chad/Yellow

Friday – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

          12th – Red

          11th – Purple

          10th – Blue

           9th – Orange

           Staff – Green

Participation has no bounds when it comes to just dressing up during spirit week, with games being held every day at lunch. Monday had Jenga, Tuesday with Water Bottle Flipping, Wednesday’s lunch consisting of some limbo, Thursday with 4-Square, and last but not least, Friday ending it off with a relay race. It’s safe to say that ASB and Leadership ensured that the Bayhawks school spirit would be apparent during this spirit week, and with their perfect planning, it was sure to be a success.

The highly anticipated dance made sure to feature some 2000s songs, like TiK ToK by Ke$ha, Yeah! by Usher, and California Girls by Katy Perry. Akin to prior dances at BHS, bags acquired check in, held in a room to the right of the entrance. Many familiar faces in the Theatre Department managed this check in, creating the most efficient service. Once again, the event started at 8:00PM, then ended at 10:00. Tickets originally costed $5, then raised to $10 as the days went on, and finished off with $15. A ticket wasn’t the only thing needed for entry however, as all students were required to either come with a signed dance contract, or an ASB card. As we say goodbye to TOLO week, BHS Juniors and Seniors can reflect their amount of participation, and apply it to the next big event, Prom!

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