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The Evolution of KB

The Evolution of KB
Hibah Rahmen

     Every year, you dress up, do your hair, put on those shoes that are a bit too tight, and catch a ride to Thai Time. You might spill some red curry on your new outfit to give it that extra spice. Discussions of past DJs and anticipated songs sprinkled with gossip fill the car during the second ride to the high school. Some people dance; most people sway. Many students enjoy this night, but how many of us know how KB has changed over the decades?

     The King Bruin dance, often shortened to KB, is run by Vestal High School’s Student Government. I interviewed Mrs. Restuccia, the advisor of Student Government, about the annual event and learned a lot about its origins. Over 40 years ago, a former football coach started the KB as a Sadie Hawkins dance, where typically girls would invite boys. During the dance, a popular football player would be crowned as the King Bruin or King Bear. 

     The dance used to be on Thanksgiving weekend, but many traveled that weekend, so it was moved closer to the holiday season. The new name of KB, KB Winter Wonderland Dance, was chosen to reflect this transition to a date closer to winter. In the past, a different theme would be chosen by those on the Student Government committee every year, meaning decorations would be bought, used for one night, and thrown away every KB. Although changing up the dances’ themes sounds fun, the decision to commit to the theme of winter wonderland “. . . streamlined our decorations, and environmentally, we aren’t throwing away as much . . . because we’re not changing the theme every year.” Instead, Student Government views KB through a more long-term lens and uses reusable decorations and equipment like Christmas lights, fabric backdrops, and water jugs in favor of paper goods, water bottles, and other single-use products.

     The sustainable approach has financial benefits too, as it cuts decoration costs, allowing for the $10 ticket price. 

     Mrs Restuccia said, “. . . when I took it over, like maybe 10 years ago, it was $15 or $20 a person, so we could cut the ticket costs, and we’ve kept it low for students for the past eight years.” A little money can be invested in decorations every year, and they can be reused in subsequent dances. 

     Additionally, Student Government has taken measures to make KB more open to all students, whether or not they have a date. For instance, there is no longer a discount for going as a couple. 

     “It should just be a ticket as a ticket . . . students should feel like they can go with their friends,” said Mrs. Restuccia. 

     The dance is an essential fundraiser for Student Government. $500 of the earnings are set aside for the high school’s food pantry, and the club usually decides to donate another portion of the earnings to other organizations such as GiGi’s Playhouse. Money is also kept for extreme cases and potential problems to come. Mrs. Restuccia recalls how in 1995, following a large flood, most clubs were not earning any money, but Student Government still organized a KB with the money saved from previous dances. Similarly, earnings from KB were useful during the COVID-19 pandemic in starting up the card drive for nursing homes. Some funds go toward Talent Fest, which does not earn any money for Student Government but is still arranged for the enjoyment of many students.

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