‘I was crushed, panicking’: Kentridge High School students "sold out" of homecoming

A hard start to the Kent school year with some students at Kentridge High School left without tickets to attend this year's homecoming dance. The event, scheduled for Saturday night, sold out in less than a week leaving many seniors out.

The situation became a difficult reality for many who would be attending their first homecoming after the pandemic canceled all large gatherings. With the clock ticking, some students tried to buy homecoming tickets from other students at double, triple even quadruple the price.

Liam Tufts, a senior at Kentridge, says football games, preparing for college applications, prom and homecoming are a few major things he has been looking forward to when returning to high school for the last time.

"They say high school is the most important years of your life, and it's been robbed away from me by a global pandemic," Tufts said.

Liam, like many in his class, bought a suit and tie for the special occasion. Now he will not get a chance to dress up.

"I was excited to go to my last and final Homecoming this year with my group of friends," Tufts said. 

Tickets for Saturday’s dance went on sale on Wednesday, and were being sold before school and during their 20-minute lunch break through Thursday. However, students and parents say at around 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, students received an email saying tickets were sold out.

"I was crushed, panicking, me and my friends had to figure out what we had to do now," Tufts said. 

Liam and his friends were not the only ones caught by surprise. Cheryl Clayton received a screenshot from her sophomore daughter. 

"She's like, Mom, what do I do? What do I do?" 

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Clayton says her daughter quickly emailed the school’s Activities Coordinator saying, "Wondering if there’s anyway possible I can get in because I already have plans and have just not had time to go during lunch." In response, she received, "Sorry, but we are sold out. It is dangerous to wait until the last minute to get a ticket. Sorry!"

The school told parent’s they had never sold out on a dance before – selling about 700 tickets. Students and parents were shocked the school did not plan for the high demand.

"You have a school of 2000 where 85% of them had never been before and want to go," Tufts said. 

"I'm really surprised they didn't expect this," Clayton said. "You've never just gone through a pandemic to write a pandemic of kids staying home." 

In an email, the coordinator told Cheryl, "We are at capacity according to what we are allowed to put in the facility."

"Can we buy other students tickets is there someway we can still get in," Tufts said

A question Liam and many other seniors – students and parents are trying to get answers for. 

"They haven't provided alternative solutions," Adam Tufts, Liam’s father, said. "If you need help with other volunteers for chaperons, that's something that can be solved and hasn't been asked."

"We have two gyms, I know we have a huge courtyard, It's going to be lovely weather tomorrow night, I don't know why they couldn't have a plan B," Clayton said. 

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Parents say they have reached out to the district providing them with ideas to help accommodate all students, but they have not heard back. Instead, parents like Cheryl have received emails from the activity's coordinator saying, "I have suggested to kids to get groups together and dress up, go to a nice dinner and perhaps go to someone’s house to hang out. I know I would do that for my kiddos."

Friday night, the Kentridge Chargers enjoyed taking on Federal Way, but many like Tufts are still trying to make Homecoming a night they will never forget. 

"We still have our dinner reservations, we still have our outfits, and we're planning to go have fun bowling, friend's house, party wherever find something else to do," Tufts said. 

Seniors are hoping for another dance besides prom. 

FOX 13 reached out to the district several times on Friday, and are waiting to hear back. 

The homecoming dance is still scheduled for 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.