The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

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My Masquerade Memoir 

Bittersweet moments are fleeting for Dons in the class of 2024, one of them being the last formal ever. On February 10, Cathedral Catholic held a Winter Formal at the Natural History Museum themed Masquerade Ball. Anticipation unfolded as students gathered in their finest attire, yearning for a night filled with unforgettable ventures and core memories.

Preparations commenced approximately four hours before the dance. I got ready with nine of my closest friends at Sara Vaplon’s ‘24 house. Amid laughter and sweet reminisce, we meticulously did our makeup, styled each other’s hair, put on our gowns, and made TikTok videos. With excitement building, we left for the official photos with all our friends, suspense brimming for the night ahead.

Sofia Mah ‘24 and Sara Vaplon ‘24 getting ready together before the dance.


Around two hours before the dance, 78 seniors and junior friends met at La Jolla Country Club for pictures, food, and light-hearted socialization organized by the Tyson family— Mary and Bobby Tyson ‘24. McKara Sweeney ‘24 shares, “When we took the group picture with everyone…all hugging…it made me feel appreciative of all the friends I’m blessed to have made in the past four years.” United by the shared fondness for our last dance, multiple friend groups congregated.

Senior and Junior friends gather together for a group photo

Surrounded by my beloved friends and family, the atmosphere at the formal pregame was emotional and nostalgic. I endeavored to fully soak in every moment. Cathedral Catholic Parent Edward Mah details, “I felt so proud watching my daughter Sofia and all her friends taking pictures at her last-ever winter formal! It was truly a magical evening and she was glowing!” 

Following formal tradition, my friends and I arrived at Balboa Park on a party bus. Next, we waited in line for attire approval, ticket scanning, and eventually strode through the doors of the museum. During attire approval, many female students were dress-coded for their dresses. Mae Kaodes ‘25 reflects, “I felt it was unfair I got dress-coded because I am taller so my slit is going to be shorter with not many dress alternatives on the market.” Regardless, she was able to make it into the dance and enjoy the night. 

The venue possessed a unique and expansive ambiance filled with numerous attractions, interactive activities, delicious appetizers, and unique desserts. Riley Leyva ‘24 describes, “The venue this year was fun to explore and…it was cool to have different levels at formal, unlike previous formals.” The prior formal venue was a single-story setting situated within the California Center of the Arts, thereby amplifying the contrast between the sites of last year and the current year. 

Taking photographs, dancing on the dance floor, and wandering the venue with my cherished friends crafted memories to last a lifetime. The air held a weight of bittersweet nostalgia. These moments, so vibrant and alive, will soon become treasured fragments of the past, whispered fondly in the corridors of memory. 

The Cathedral Catholic Competition Dance Team poses in the formal photo booth per tradition.
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About the Contributor
Sofia Mah
Sofia Mah, Staffer
Hi! I’m Sofia Mah and my passion lies in human connection, dance, creativity, and nature. Journalism is my outlet for amplifying the voices of marginalized individuals and communities, forging profound connections with people to tell their stories authentically. Through my writing and passions, I aim to create a more empathetic world where diverse voices are heard.

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