ICYMI: Spring Fiesta returns for the first time since 2020

Spring dance makes a return after a 3-year break


William York

Spring Fiesta queen is escorted by Carson Shapiro.

El Paso High School celebrated their traditional Spring Fiesta dance after a 3-year hiatus due to the lingering effects of Covid-19, which prevented the school from hosting indoor events with large crowds. 

This year’s court consist of queen, Paula Chavez, lady-in-waiting Maddie McGuire, Allyson Stressow as senior princess, Jezerae Valenzuela as senior duchess, Windle Shapiro as junior duchess, Miabella Pennington as sophomore duchess, Jocelyn Dominguez as freshman duchess. 

“It’s honestly a true honor. I feel like this tradition is so nice and it’s fun, so it’s a really big honor that I got named the queen this year. Especially because it’s my senior year and it’s a great memory to have,” Paula said. 

Spring Fiesta has been a tradition at EPHS since 1947. The celebration initially was designed to be a carnival where all clubs contributed their own booth to raise money for the junior class. 

“Spring Fiesta used to be a carnival. Every club and organization would do a different booth at a carnival. And then throughout the years, it switched from a carnival to a dance,” EPHS Student Activities Manager, Lindie Reynold-Serna said. 

The spring dance had been an annual event up until Feb. 22, 2020 right before a mandated quarantine was set upon the city of El Paso. Due to CDC guidelines for most of 2021 and into 2022, the school wasn’t allowed to hold an in-person event.

“We didn’t have a dance in 2021 because we were at home during that year, and in 2022, we didn’t have a dance because of COVID requirements,” Mrs. Reynolds-Serna said. 

Even though there wasn’t a spring fiesta dance, the sweetheart and beaus were still recognized on last year’s Valentine’s Day. Sweethearts and beaus are students who are nominated by their peers and club sponsors to represent their group. 

Spring Fiesta will continue the tradition of recognizing sweethearts, beaus and a royal court this year and will have every one recognized participate in a parade through the school hallways. An assembly was held in previous years for this event. 

“It’s going to be like when they do halls for football. It’s going to be the same thing except each of the sweethearts and beaus that were chosen are going to have a sign, they’re gonna be walking the hallways, they’ll be introduced, and they’ll be releasing the hallways,” junior class sponsor, Ingrid De Alba said. 

Aside from individuals being recognized and representing their own organization, club, or team, the idea of recognizing a sweetheart and beau is to showcase some of the extracurricular activities the school has to offer

“The purpose of doing the sweethearts and beaus is to advertise the activities that we have in school,” Ms. De Alba said. 

The last class to have experienced a spring dance was the class of 2023 during their freshmen year. 

“I think because it’s been a while since they had the last Spring fiesta, they’re going to come back even stronger than any other year,” sophomore Anthony Loya said. 

Students have recently associated the dance with a more Valentine’s Day theme, but this year’s junior class of 2024, are making the theme more spring affiliated . 

“The juniors in the past kind of built the dance around Valentine’s, but the juniors decided they wanted to kind of separate that because they don’t want people to not want to attend a dance if they don’t have a Valentine so it’s just a spring dance,” Serna said. 

At the dance, the spring fiesta court will be recognized. The spring fiesta court has been a long held tradition during the event where the entire student body nominates a queen, lady-in-waiting, Senior princess, and an every class duchess. 

Students take pride in their school’s unique tradition. EPHS is one of the only schools that has a dance aside from Homecoming and Prom. The additional dance during spring season marks a distinct feature that sets EPHS apart from other high schools. 

“​​Spring fiesta is its own individual event and we are the only school who has a second dance in spring. It’s not something that everyone else gets to enjoy or do,” senior Gabriela Pulido said. 

Tickets were capped at 600, due to capacity limitations at the C.D. Jarvis gymnasium. This new policy has been put into effect in recent years and has been implemented with other dances such as homecoming and prom. 

“We figured on this one we were gonna be good with 600 tickets because it’s a dance and not a lot of students know about it so we figured 600 is a good number, plus we would be good with the money that we would make for the juniors,” Ms. De Alba said. 

The return of the dance and its exclusivity set up some high expectations from the student body. Since the majority of the people attending the dance have never experienced a Spring Fiesta, students are looking forward to attending the dance, and the minority of seniors attending the dance hope that it leaves a lasting impression on future generations. 

“I hope that everyone that doesn’t really take Spring Fiesta as seriously, can maybe look at it more as a tradition. You know, it’s something we honor at El Paso High, and it’s a tradition that we should keep alive and I feel like other generations coming in should keep it alive,” Paula said.