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Operation Snowball is locked in and ready to go for a big weekend

Chaperones Marinelle Arenga and Kendal Ahlmann at last year's lock-in.
Gianna Ortiz, EPHS Class of 2024

The 2024 Snowball Lock-in is right around the corner! 

Operation Snowball is an EPHS student club that focuses on leadership development to create a positive impact around the community. 

Each year the group hosts a lock-in open to the entire school. Highlights include games, food, a guest speaker, discussion groups, a talent show and a dance. This year’s event will take place from 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, to 7 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 25. 

Admission is $30 per person. (The early bird rate was $25 on tickets bought before Feb. 15.) The money goes toward the cost of the lock-in, including food, event speaker, and the matching shirts that everyone gets upon entry.

So what can attendees expect at the lock-in? Seniors Emily Neil and Rayan Lahlou-Nabil are co-presidents of Operation Snowball and have been a part of the club since their freshman year. To help us understand what the lock-in is and all the work that goes into it, Emily agreed to answer a few brief questions.

Rayan Lahlou-nabil and Emily Neil, co-presidents of Operation Snowball, walk down a hall at EPHS.

Seniors Rayan Lahlou-Nabil and Emily Neil are co-presidents of
Operation Snowball, the EPHS student group that organizes the annual
school lock-in. (Operation Snowball photo)

Q&A WITH OPERATION SNOWBALL CO-PRESIDENT EMILY NEIL
 
How is the 2024 lock-in different from the 2023 lock-in?
Each year we choose a theme for lock-in based on what we feel is an issue within our school. Last year we chose to focus around substance abuse because that was an issue within the school at the time. This year, our focus is all about future plans. We want to give EPHS students a head start on achieving their goals and teach them the skills required to do so.

What is the purpose of lock-in? How does it benefit the community?
Lock-in is an overnight experience within the school with workshops, discussion groups and a keynote speaker that all coincide to reach a larger goal. Lock-in allows students to develop leadership skills and connect with their peers, all while promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Why are you attending the lock-in? What are you looking forward to?
Personally, I am attending lock-in because I took a very big part in planning it along with Rayan, but a lot of others attend lock-in because it’s fun! EPHS doesn’t offer anything quite like it. I am most looking forward to our late-night activities, which includes our dance, which I make a mixtape for.

How does someone sign up for lock-in?
Permission packets are available at the security office and can be turned in to Ms. [Marsha] Rubino in the main office! All packets must be turned in by Feb. 21 and payment by Feb. 23!

Why should students attend the lock-in?
Students should attend the lock-in because EPHS doesn’t offer anything else like it! Student-run events are so effective in learning leadership skills and other crucial skills that you can’t take a class on. 

How do you gain sponsors for the lock-in? Who is in charge of planning the event?
We gain sponsors by talking to local businesses and asking them to support us through food or monetary donations. Rayan Lahlou-nabil and myself are in charge of planning the event this year, with the help of our Snowball leaders and, most importantly, Ms. [Marinelle] Arenga! Ms. Arenga is the sponsor of Operation Snowball and plays a big part in getting the event in action. 

Where will the lock-in take place? In what parts of the school?
The first half of the event takes place throughout the entire school, with supervision of course. For the second half of the event we are limited to the cafeteria, gyms, and auditorium.

Chaperones Marinelle Arenga and Kendal Ahlmann pose for a photo at last year's Snowball lock-in.

Operation Snowball sponsor Marinelle Arenga (left) and English teacher
Kendal Ahlmann were two of the chaperones at last year's lock-in.
(Operation Snowball photo)

GETTING READY FOR THE BIG EVENT

Another Operation Snowball leader is senior Elizabeth Kelsey. She’s been a member of the club for four years. Count her among the lock-in’s biggest fans, especially after last year’s successful program. 

“It was one of the best events of my junior year,” she said. “I’ll never forget the talent show. It was hilarious and so much fun.”

This year Elizabeth is responsible for planning the “Among Us in Real Life” part of the event. Students will go around playing an intense game of a version of tag based on the video game, “Among Us.”

“It has been a lot of work, but so much fun,” she said. “Last year I was responsible for gathering donations, so this year has been way more enjoyable. Planning a whole event has a lot of pressure so I hope everyone enjoys how much work I've put into it.”

Many of the students who attend the lock-in each year are not directly involved in the Operation Snowball, making this an all inclusive event! Two seniors who are not in the club who will be attending the 2024 lock-in are Jasmine Melquiades and Xavier Arroyo.

“I’m attending because as a senior I want to be a part of all of the school activities before I graduate,” said Jasmine. “I’m looking forward to spending time in the school after hours, the real life Among Us, and the talent show. Also, if Emily Neil and Rayan Lahlou-nabil are gonna be there, then everyone should be there!”

Added Xavier: “I’m attending the lock-in because this is my last year! I want to make the best of this year because these types of experiences might never come again.”

If you're an EPHS student and still not convinced that the lock-in is an event for you, the club has created this special trailer on why YOU should attend. See you this weekend! 

The participants of last year's Snowball Lock-in.

More than 60 students participated in last year's Snowball Lock-in.
Everyone gets a T-shirt when arriving at the event.

(Operation Snowball photo)

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