Eighth graders ‘Glow Up’ at Helena Hollow dance

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer

HELENA – During normal years Helena’s eighth graders usually participate in a number of events before they move on to high school, with the most iconic being their eighth-grade banquet. However, like many things the schools decided to cancel this event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To offer a substitute, on May 7 Helena Hollow hosted the “8th Grade Glow Up,” which functioned much like the traditional banquet but added in the capabilities that the space is able to offer.

“We decided to host the Glow Up with some encouragement and urging from a few Helena 8th grade moms,” Helena Hollow Owner Amy Griffin explained. “The school couldn’t host their normal 8th grade banquet due to COVID, and the banquet is something the kids look so forward to every year.”

Helena Hollow tried to make the event unique by offering a glow-in-the-dark theme, which Griffin said was very popular with the students. There was a live DJ, black lights and snacks for the guests.

“We didn’t feel comfortable hosting a full sit-down meal style banquet, so we decided to put our own spin on it and do a dance instead,” Griffin explained. The dance was only for Helena outgoing 8th graders and was a way to celebrate their accomplishment of finishing middle school–don’t we all remember how tough those few years can be–and it was also a way to say congrats! You’re now high schoolers.”

The event seemed to be very popular with the students who attended. Throughout the event they could be seen smiling and joking with their friends, taking selfies and dancing the night away down on the farm.

“When the kids got there, we had glow sticks for them, and as soon as the sun went down the barn was lit up with black lights, a DJ and all things that glow,” Griffin said.

With nearly a year and a half of students having to miss out on big events, the joy and excitement that these young students were able to experience was exactly the goal of the event.

“Just like we hosted prom for the high schoolers, we were happy to also be able to celebrate with the 8th graders as they too are coming up on a big milestone,” Griffin said.

The dance lasted for three hours starting at 7 p.m. To ensure the safety of everyone, Helena Hollow set a cap on the number of attendees and presold tickets so that capacity was able to be maintained.

This event served as a way to replace canceled traditions, while also adding a unique twist so that young students are still able to enjoy themselves.