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The Disappearance of TWIRP

Kara Dunton

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It is a Saturday night. Music is blasting and dance moves are out. Smiles and laughs are hung in the air. Girls are wearing their new fancy dresses and heels as they walk in with the date THEY had asked. The girl had payed, the girl had picked her date, the girl did something unusual yet fun.  The night is something different, something new and exciting. Where has this chance gone?

TWIRP (The Woman Is Required to Pay), has been non-existent since the year of 2011.

It was the homecoming (glo-coming) of 2011 dance. A group of 40 kids were dancing inappropriately and were told more than once to stop. OHS Principal, Dr. Joseph Moylan had turned off the music and told the group of kids to leave, which caused them to scream continuously. Police then had to escort them out but that was not the end.

12 News had come to the dance because it was Oconomowoc High School’s first time breathalyzing. The seniors had decided to have their own party in the parking lot where 12 News was stationed. The group of kids had smashed their glow sticks and trashed the parking lot, while blaring music. Eventually, Dr. Moylan came out and told 12 News to leave, threatening to call the cops if they didn’t, then made the students leave. That awful night was what ended TWIRP that year.

Moylan had cancelled all dances after that night. He then had spent a year negotiating with students and parents to get homecoming and prom back, which eventually did happen after an agreement. Although, TWIRP was never put back.

“I will never do this again…No TWIRP is never going to be at this school ever again,” Moylan said to Student Council.

“[It was] the most stressful time I could think of in recent memory…I was almost at battle with them, and they didn’t get where I was coming from,” Moylan said.

During the past TWIRP dances, Moylan explained that kids had brought booze and threw the empty bottles on the floor. The TWIRP queen had been so drunk she vomited all over the floor. Girls had worn very inappropriate dresses. The grinding some students had done was so bad that it had left Moylan with parent complaint phone calls lined up.

“I just came to a point in my life where I’m like this is stupid, I’m not doing this anymore…It’s just one of those ugly feelings I have in my gut that I can’t shake,” Dr. Moylan stated.

Drinking at TWIRP had also been a big problem. “It scares the heck out of me. I’ve buried too many kids in my career as a high school principal.”

Moylan had said all their discipline problems from those years was at TWIRP.  Prom was never as bad and homecoming can’t really be cancelled.  The main group of kids that ruined the chance of TWIRP for many classes will always remain in Moylan’s memory.

“They were a fringy crowd of kids. Why they showed up at the dance I have no idea, but I wished they wouldn’t of, because they wouldn’t have wrecked the experience for everybody,” he said.

Looking at our school today, Moylan said everything about our students now is better, and he doesn’t deal with close to what he used to. Now that it has been 5 years since that one bizarre, unforgettable night, will TWIRP ever return?  

The principal had went on to say he has never planned a dance: students do. The return of TWIRP has been brought up every year but there doesn’t seem to be enough interest.

OHS counselor, Angela Fisher is a major part of planning dances, and was a part of the response act of returning prom and homecoming. She then became the advisor of student council the next year. “I’m not looking for a thank you. I’m looking for kids to be grateful for what they have,” said Fisher.

Fisher said Moylan is a really moral guy and has shown the students the consequences and held them accountable. Although, since the tragic event happened, nothing has came back sense. “Our kids now have been so respectful at dances,” Fisher said.

Fisher mentioned that even if TWIRP is not brought back, we need an eventful week and a night with something fun during the winter time. Although it is always tough to plan dances and events like these because of the past.

Moylan has had a tough time with dances and doubts TWIRP will ever come back. “We try to keep it as quiet as possible, we try to make sure everybody has a good time and that we leave that night and we haven’t made a commotion, so that we don’t end up on the front page of the newspaper, because it just wrecks the value of your diploma.”

“I do it because I want kids to have an opportunity to learn that way; to get dressed up and have a good time socially and not to drink or do drugs…If I can offer that kind of environment here I will offer it, the second I can’t, I will cancel it and be happy to.”  

TWIRP is another night to have students come together and have fun. Schools like Catholic Memorial, Kettle Moraine, and Arrowhead have a TWIRP/Winter dance. If the students of Oconomowoc want it back, gratefulness, appreciation and especially good behavior are a big expectation when these dances happen.

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2 Responses to “The Disappearance of TWIRP”

  1. Brenna Delaney on October 27th, 2016 7:51 pm

    Now that all of the students that were in attendance of TWIRP in previous years are long gone, I don’t see why OHS couldn’t try it out again. If it doesn’t work out, and behavior isn’t up to Dr. Moylan’s standards, then it could be cancelled, no strings attached. Though it sounds very fun with the roles reversed and all, it could use a different name. “The Woman Is Required to Pay” doesn’t have the most ideal title for today’s society’s standards. In my opinion, having a winter dance would make kids more excited about school and encourage more participation. When it comes to homecoming and prom times of the year, students are excited and actively participate. I don’t see why we couldn’t just try it out again! As the article stated “Looking at our school today, Moylan said everything about our students now is better, and he doesn’t deal with close to what he used to.”, and I believe that is a perfect reason to simply try it out again. Maybe OHS could just have a trial year to check it out and see how it would go. If it doesn’t make sense and doesn’t work out, Moylan would be happy to cancel it, and I think the student body would understand!


  2. xtphr on February 18th, 2017 7:36 pm

    Reminds me of the alcohol induced roudiness that resulted in the death of a student that cancelled VEISHEA at Iowa State for a few years…only to be reinstated and again resulted in death that first year of reinstatement. A school administrators first responsibility has to be the welfare of the students.


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