The BTSD lights up the 2022-2023 school year

Grace Gehrman

On Aug. 19, the first Friday of the 2022-2023 school year, Redwood held its annual Back to School Dance (BTSD), a night of fun, games, music and plenty of dancing in the quad. As one of Redwood’s most anticipated dances, the BTSD always aims to put a positive spin on the start of the school year. 

Senior class president, Tawny Strotz, remarked on the amiable welcome BTSD provided for students. 

“I love the BTSD. I feel like every year everyone’s always so excited and looking forward to it. I think it’s such a fun way to start the year and welcome everyone back,” Strotz said.

Singing along to the music, students belt out the words to their favorite tunes.


Similarly, Academic Workshop teacher, Natalie Pepper, believes in the importance of the BTSD as a way to ease back into academics and boost student spirit before the school year fully begins. Although Pepper has not been able to attend for the past two years, she always makes an effort to attend the BTSD when she can. 

“[BTSD is the] best dance of the year,”  Pepper said. “I think it’s good for building a community and a nice way to kick off a school year.” 

However, despite tricky COVID-19 restrictions and fluctuating case numbers, school dances remain a commodity for students. According to Principal Barnaby Payne, this year, the leadership class and the Associated Student Body (ASB) have taken strides to host dances that are both lively as well as safe. 

“ASB spent a lot of time organizing [for the BTSD]. All the structures [were] in place to make it a safe event,” Payne said.

Gaming or dancing, students make the most of the activities offered by the ASB.

After two years without a BTSD, Strotz reiterates her appreciation for the return of the highly anticipated Redwood dance. 

“It was definitely nice to have [the BTSD] again and at the start of school.  Last year we had the one a little farther into the year—the Back to Dances Dance,” Strotz said. “I think it was definitely a nice change to have it back to how it usually is. Hopefully, it stays like that for years going forward.” 

Posing in front of the photo booth camera, students embrace their friends for a night of fun.

Like Strotz, junior Salvatore Fierro hopes that the BTSD stays a tradition. From hanging out with his friends, to bumping into new prospective ones, sophomore Salvatore Fierro enjoyed the atmosphere of the BTSD and the chance positive encounters it provided. Moreover, Fierro is excited for future dances, noting how they are not something to take for granted, as the past two years have proved.

“[The BTSD] was just a lot of fun [because] there hasn’t been a lot of dances [since COVID-19] and I missed a lot of them in middle school. I want to cherish [them] while [they’re] here, because [they’re] not always [going to be],” Fierro said. 

With the energetic crowd singing along to the nostalgic and new music, ranging from rap to slow pop; the impressive dancing skills exhibited by even the most timid students; the ear-splitting whistling that was music to the seniors’ ears; and the dazzling lights casting a neon glow on the jam-packed dance floor; the night was beyond forgettable.