by Charles Arencibia
50th Anniversary of SAC
If you’ve ever attended an event at Columbus, you owe your experience to the SAC (Student Activity Committee). SAC plans events for you to engage in, upholding Columbus traditions as well as experimenting with new events for students to enjoy. This year, Columbus celebrates 50 years of SAC. In 1973, Br. Eugene started the Student Activities Committee to organize events for students, and since its inception, it has been nonstop.
In 1994, English department head, Mr. Keith Crossman picked up the reigns of SAC.
“It was incredible. I worked with student leaders who went on to become a congressman, the current President of the Columbus Board Adrian Alfonso, and even a State Supreme Court Justice, among others. I worked with great people such as former Math Department chair, now Dr. William Yu (class of '92) as co-moderator for most of my 10 years at the helm,” he said.
Mr. Crossman was a part of the most developmental and transformative years for both SAC and Columbus.
“SAC changed drastically in that time. I think for the better. We developed many of the iconic Columbus images during that time: the first reusable breakaway banner for our games, the first branded "C" flag, our first legitimate Columbus Explorer Mascot - and of course our social events like dances,” Mr. Crossman said.
When Crossman began working in SAC there weren’t many notable dances for students to attend. They tried other events prior to Beach Bash like the Valentine's Jam and an early version of a Back to School Dance to compete with Lourdes' welcome dance, which was a huge event at the time, as well as the Tombola by Belen. Under the new leadership of Mr. Omar Delgado in 1998 Beach Bash took off.
Crossman remembers Beach Bash’s early success and development as well as the ordeal it took to achieve it. Early on, friends of Mr. Crossman in the club promotion scene with connections to South Beach assisted with digital fyler promotion. Some other "daring souls" promoted the dance with "guerilla tactics." As that started, the Beach Bash's popularity rose from a dance of 500 attendees to about 3000 attendees by the 2003-04 era.
"We brought in a truckload of sand, and glow sticks, handed out leis to all the female attendees, and blew up about 100 beach balls to smash around in the cafeteria. Once we started bringing in DJs' from Power 96 like DJ Zog, and insane lighting rigs, live bands, and three rooms of music - the Columbus Beach Bash became a legend," Mr. Crossman said.
Crossman remembers many notable events, many of which are too crazy to tell, but many people forget the successful dances that were smaller and featured their own unique ethos.
There was Sock Hops which was a "chill vibe" according to Mr. Crossman. After most home games at Tropical Park, any student who had a ticket from the night's game could get into the dance for free. The players would come back on the bus, get changed, and come chill with the fans and friends.
He also remembers a 70's disco-themed dance in the spring, that went on for two years, called Boogie Nights,
“It was hilarious. I remember people wearing bellbottom jeans, fake afros, polyester shirts, and a bunch of people on stage doing a choreographed dance as YMCA by the Village People played."
A lesser-known event called Sweet Dreams was nearly rivaling Beach Bash but was eventually shut down.
“It was effectively a big pajama party with people carrying stuffed animals and a pillow fight at one of the events. But that eventually got nixed because people couldn't figure out how to dress properly.”
Another event called Battle of the Bands, in which bands and DJs would square off would take place in the spring. The winner would receive money and get the opportunity to perform at the next year's Beach Bash.
The Current State and Future of SAC
Mrs. Melissa Alonso, current moderator at SAC and Foreign Language Department head loves hosting Beach Bash and especially noted Prom.
“Beach Bash is one of my favorite events to host because it is a fun event that all students can participate in," she said. "Prom is great because it is the closing party as a class for all the seniors to share in the fun.”
SAC is always looking for opportunities for improvement. Mrs. Alonso hopes to make Columbus events bigger and better, with new events and more collaboration with the massive alumni community.
Since her beginning years at SAC, there have been many new events such as multiple sport pep rallies, Freshman Dance, Sophomore Dance, Junior Dance, Halftime show at the Homecoming game, student section giveaways, back-to-school giveaways and more.
Mrs. Alonso is very satisfied with the current success of SAC. She notes that it is a lot of work but loves what she does.
Co-moderator of SAC, Ms. Brown has heard feedback saying students may like more activities at Beach Bash and predicted more to be available.
Crossman affirms that the future of SAC looks bright.
“I think that Mrs. Alonso and Ms. Brown are doing a fantastic job, and I want to complement the people who have taken over this exhaustion, often thankless, but very fulfilling job. My thanks go back to Mr. Delgado and Mrs. Insua through Mrs. DeLaHoz and Mrs. Gonzalez. What you see today in SAC has been a team effort and I am proud to be a part of that cherished legacy here at Columbus,” he added.
Mrs. Alonso says that SAC helps keep the brotherhood alive at Columbus.
“SAC is the heart of the student's social events. They may not remember a lesson I taught, but they will definitely remember how crazy musical chairs would get at pep rallies,” she said.
SAC is important to Columbus and Mr. Crossman noted his thoughts on the value the events bring to the school.
“I know kids don't always remember the things I teach and the IXLs they complete, but they never forget where they made friends. They never forget spending time with their brothers just letting off some steam. So whether it's homecoming, prom, or pep rallies and dances, our boys don't just come to Columbus to do the academic thing. Life is so much more than just academics. SAC is life,” Mr. Crossman.
SAC will continue to be part of the Columbus way of life.
Marcus St. John contributed to this article.