Tonight Dalat will continue a wonderful school tradition that has been a part of the Dalat experience for more than 45 years — the Junior Senior Banquet (JSB). I thought it would be worthwhile to take the time this week to tell our parents more about this wonderful event.
To get a better idea of the history of the JSB, I went and talked with our resident historian, Mr. John Tompkins who has been a teacher at Dalat for over 33 years and attended the school when it was in Vietnam, Bangkok, and the Cameron Highlands. From his recollection the JSB started back in Vietnam. The event was originally planned and prepared by both the sophomore (10th) and junior (11th) classes. At some point in the late 60s it no longer included the sophomores as hosts and so as a junior class production it became known as the JSB.
Over the years a number of traditions have become part of the JSB. The night itself has a theme and this has been a part of the evening since its beginning. Some of the themes from previous JSBs include Renaissance (’66), Welcome to Rome (’79), Evening in Paris (’84), Rock Around the Clock (’91), Winter Wonderland (’04), The Amazing Race (07), and last year’s theme “Here We Go.” Traditionally the theme itself is a secret that is only revealed once the seniors arrive at the hotel (which has also become a tradition to keep secret). A more recent tradition has been the way boys are now asking girls in very creative and unique ways such as riding in on a horse in a knight’s suit, serenading the girl in chapel, planting the invitation in a bottle found while jet skiing, etc.
The evening itself starts in the chapel where the students and staff meet and are then taken by buses to the hotel where the JSB will take place. The seniors are excited to see the decorations and the theme of the night, which the juniors have been working on for months. Once the seniors are there, the evening consists of a meal, entertainment by members of the junior class, picture montages of the seniors including baby pictures, tributes to each senior, a skit or play that incorporates the senior class, and a gift to remember the evening by.
If you talk to any alumnus from Dalat, he or she will tell you in detail what the JSB was like for them as a senior but then go into even greater detail telling you all about the JSB his or her class put on as juniors. The event itself is full of memories that are going to last a lifetime, but more importantly for the junior class it also becomes an event that can have a positive impact on them for life. From my perspective the best part of the JSB is all the “Education for Life” that is happening as these young men and women work hour upon hour together putting on an event that is about something more important than themselves. Their blood, sweat, and tears are done to honor other students. Throughout the year the junior class works hard and the JSB becomes an event that bonds the students and class together and is an accomplishment they will be proud of — just ask any alumnus (but be ready for a detailed story about the best JSB ever!).
If you would like to get an idea of what the JSB is like, click on this link and watch a video that was put together from the JSB in 2007.