Thursday Night: Gala at the Westin Arlington Gateway

Finally, the night I had been waiting for the entire week. The gala was held at the Westin Arlington Gateway, and I was anticipating over four hours of fun with my fellow National Youth Correspondents. Although the bus ride to the Westin took an hour because of D.C. traffic, none of us minded the ride. Up in the front, April and B-Money played music to get us in the mood, and everyone was having fun, laughing and talking. When we arrived, we got lots of looks from other people. The Westin probably doesn’t get many groups of 200 high school students, all dressed up in their best outfits, looking for a wild night.

The first event of the night was dinner, of course. Dinner was chicken with veggies, potatoes, a salad, and mousse cake. It was fun watching people try to figure out which of three forks and two knives to use. After dinner, speeches were made thanking all the various staff and the people who had helped set up WJMC and kept it running smoothly. Lots of clapping for all! Immediately after the speeches, a DJ showed up and the music started!

It didn’t take long for the lights to be turned down, and for the dance floor to get crowded. I had never been to a dance before, and was pretty nervous. I asked several people from my group how to dance “properly,” and they all gave me the same advice, which was: “be confident, and no-one will question what you are doing.”  I approached the floor, not without a little trepidation, but the music was loud and up-beat, and people were enjoying themselves, so I just threw myself into the mix. It did not take long to get over my nervousness. One or two songs in, I had sort of gotten in the swing of things, and was doing pretty well, or so I’m told. For three or four hours, my brain was in sensory overload, one loud song after another, one dance after another. There were a few songs that everyone as a group, in almost lines. I think I need to work on my choreography  with those. I apologize here to those whose feet I stepped on during those songs.

Around 11 to 11:15 things were wrapping up, and it was time to head back to the dorms. Half the people in our bus were trying to sleep, and the other half were shouting because none of us could hear each other. Sadly, after we reached the dorms, we had to pack our belongings for the morning. I was so tired that I pretty much just threw everything into the suitcase, took a shower and flopped into bed. I had a lot of fun that night, but did not look forward to the goodbyes the next day.

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