By Zara Karimi (18A01A) and Ling Young Loon (18S07A)
Photos courtesy of Raffles Photographic Society
The atmosphere at the Island Ballroom at the Shangri-la Hotel was relaxed as the graduating batch of Rafflesians gathered for Grad Night 2017: Florescence. Having just concluded their A-Levels, the Year 6s milled around the ornate hallways, filling the room with lively chatter not unlike the JC canteen, excited to see friends and classmates once again. It was the graduation night of the class of 2017, and it turned out to be a night to remember.
“The theme for Grad Night this year is Florescence, meaning the process of flowering,” explained Dorian Chang, one of the organising ICs from Student Council. “In tandem with Fiore, the J2s’ Orientation theme, Florescence is meant to symbolize the closing of their JC chapter.”
And it was a beautiful closing indeed. As expected, everyone was dressed to the nines. Here are some of our favourite picks of the night.
Nadia from 17S06G (left) and Celeste from 17S03Q (right) bought their evening gowns from online retailers and blogshops. With matching clutches, they looked ready for a night on the town!
Chi Yui from 17S03P picked out a bold navy blue suit from Benjamin Barker. Paired with brown oxfords and a striking red tie, he stood out in the sea of black suits and ties!
Eugene from 17S06E decided to go the unconventional route, ditching the stuffy suit jacket for a pair of dapper-looking suspenders. Paired with a stylish pageboy cap and a bow tie, this statement look from Robinsons turned heads!
On the whole, blogshops seemed to be a popular choice for many of the girls’ dresses, while guys stuck to old favorites like Benjamin Barker and G2000.
As the doors opened at 7, the crowd moved to take their seats. Most streamed in and out, alternating between the photobooth and dinner. Emcees Su Hong Yun (18S03Q) and Sun Jia Ying (18A01D) opened the night with a warm welcome, and got the ball rolling with a couple of exciting performances.
Next up were Jessica Hoe, Ryan Heng, Ashiley Annushri Thenpandiyan and Soh Qian Ying from 17S03I. Interestingly, they were all from the same PW group, and decided to come together one last time. Their Grad Night performance was truly an example of the enduring friendships formed across their two years spent in RI.
Following this was the unconventional yet engaging juggling performance by Brian Juniano, which certainly excited the audience.
“It’s kind of fitting when you think about how you have to constantly juggle commitments in this school,” commented emcee Jia Ying, garnering laughs from the audience.
Following this was a group of dancers from Batch ‘16 of RGS Dance International. Through they went on to walk different CCA paths in RI, they reunited together to present a heartwarming and elegant performance dedicated to their seniors.
Also performing were Mandopop duet Ashlyn Ng (18S03H) and Chen Xinyuan (18S03M) from Piano Ensemble. Ashlyn played the piano and Xinyuan took vocals, with their repertoire including fan favourites like 那些年 from the movie 那些年，我們一起追的女孩, and 小幸运 by 田馥甄.
Besides the nostalgia and dazzling performances, Grad Night wouldn’t be Grad Night without the pageants it is known for. The 2017 Prom King and Queen couples went through a series of trying tasks. From re-enacting scenes from romantic movies, to answering relationship questions, the audience was highly amused if the hoots and cheers were anything to go by. One particularly memorable game featured the girls putting blindfolds on and then being led to shake every one of the guys’ hands, so as to identify their partner. However, none stood a chance against Rennee and Aaron, who took home the coveted titles of Prom King and Queen.
The title of Dance Champion was also up for grabs, and all 5 contestants duked it out onstage with memorable performances, with some performing solo, and some choosing to team up. One contestant, Saha, planned an elaborate storyline for his performance, showing up in a penguin onesie, and showing off his twerking skills. At the end, however, audience favorite Julia Teo took the crown.
Do note that if you’re heading down for Grad Night (however old this article may be), you’ll probably only spend half the time at the dinner table. In between performances, our Y6s stayed outside the ballroom taking photos with their friends. Given the luxurious backdrop of the Shangri-La hotel, this comes as no surprise.
Zhang Zhi (17S06B) commented, “The night is very symbolic as it marks the start of a new journey for all of us. Who wouldn’t want to commemorate it with photos?”
On the whole, Grad Night 2017 was truly a night to remember for the Year 6s as they spent one last time together as a batch, before the inevitable movement towards newer pursuits and bright futures, divergent as they may be. To paraphrase one senior’s Instagram post: $95 pictures, priceless friendships.