A Memorable Party

Liam Struck, Journalist


The most grand of all Ames High parties is the Great Gatsby Party. Every year this spectacle is hosted by the English department and, the invited guests consist of the entire Sophomore class packed into the English hallway.

Who conducts this spectacular event? The answer is, two dedicated English teachers, Chuck Ripley and Ginny Siebert. According to Joe Brekke, “Ripley and Siebert worked for months, planning and coordinating all of the volunteers and sponsors who contribute.” Amazingly in half a day the English department is transformed into a Great Gatsby Party, complete with 1920’s styled jazz music performed by Dominick Mcdonald, Maya Chen, Liv Lauber, Sam Packard and Sophie Roberts.

What work goes into a Gatsby party? Chuck Ripley sheds light on the subject. “The preparation typically begins in January, starting with scouting for possible dates and applying for grant money to help fund the party.” He continues, “After a date’s been chosen and grant money has been awarded we begin contacting students and staff members for feedback on how to improve [the event] from previous years .A budget is created, balancing how many non perishable items buy versus food & drink. Sophomore parents are contacted and asked for donations to help defray costs.” Mr. Ripley is grateful to The AABC, student’s parents, Olde Main, McClanahan Studio, The Knights of Columbus and Model A Club for their donations and hours of volunteering and hard work.

Ripley explained the mad rush of the week before the party kicks off. “In the week leading up to the party students are introduced to the concept of role playing and character creation, how the “Gatsby Game” works, and how to enjoy the party. We also ask for student volunteers to be Gatsby. This year we had nearly fifty students apply. Every year names are chosen at random. In the 48-72 hour timeframe supplies are purchased, rooms are cleared out, decorations are taped hastily to the wall, and everything comes together at the last minute for something we hope the students remember for a long time.”

Do students appreciate it? Ames High Sophomore Hana Qamhieh praised the English department’s effort, “The Gatsby party was definitely worth the effort put into it, which was clearly a lot. It’s cool that the English department was willing to do all of that just for us to enjoy it.” She continues “So for those who didn’t take full advantage of everything that was there, or didn’t get into character and let it happen, that really sucks man because it was bangin.” Paige Neutzling chimes in “The Gatsby Party has been going on at Ames High for many years and I think there’s an obvious reason for that, because everyone has so much fun!”

This concludes the Ames High Gatsby Party. The tradition will carry on despite the heavy burden and stress put onto the English department. Through generations of sophomores the Gatsby Party will always be a point of conversation, whether it was getting roughed up by the bouncers, making your fortune or discovering clues along the way to figure out who the Great Gatsby is. Long live Gatsby.