Pine View juniors Kelly Pacifico, Clarissa Liu and April Mininsohn are ready to see the 2013 Cobalt Dance come to fruition. The three directors of the Cobalt Dance have worked hard all year organizing fundraising events and promoting them throughout the school. They began fundraising for the dance with fellow juniors their freshman year, as each class before them has done. Every year, Pine View juniors throw the Cobalt Dance for the seniors as a send-off gift, and to keep with the tradition of the original Cobalt Dance.
Former Pine View chemistry teacher Eloise Malinsky began teaching at the school in 1971, when the school consisted of portables on Tami Sola Street.
When Malinksy entered her chemistry lab for the first time, she saw an old lab station that took up too much space. Having just redesigned a new chemistry lab for a community college, Malinsky asked for the old station to be taken out and circular tables to be installed for ease of movement in a small space. The large white round tables reminded students of a café, and they nicknamed the portable Cobalt Café. Because cobalt is an element in chemistry, they thought the name fit.
In 1972, Malinksy agreed to be the sponsor for the Pine View class of 1973 — the first Pine View graduating class. That year, the junior class suggested a potluck dinner in the Cobalt Café and sent invitations to faculty. They decorated the room and dressed to fit a Roaring ’20s theme. Dancing took place outside after dinner.
The following year, the new junior class decided to hold the event again, and invited the seniors, as well. This time, two portables were used to accommodate the larger number of people.
As the school grew, Cobalt Café could no longer accommodate the dinner dance. It eventually moved to Alta Vista Elementary School’s cafeteria. It continued to be a potluck dinner and dance as a tribute to the seniors. This started the tradition that still exists today: The junior class raises money to host the dance for the graduating senior class.
“Pine View students always liked being different,” says Malinsky, now retired. “They did not want a (traditional) prom, and dressing the theme was always exciting.”
The Cobalt dance was catered for the first time in 1979 and took place at the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre. That year, Ben Turoff, whose parents owned the theater, was a junior at Pine View. Turoff’s mother, Broadway actress Roberta MacDonald, sang, and Jerry Grayson, a stand-up comic, performed. Students listened to music on tapes.
Today, students don’t have to worry about pre-recording dance music, but they do have to worry about budgeting, organizing fundraisers and keeping the theme a secret from the senior class. This year, the junior class chose the theme “Bella Sera: A Beautiful Night in Italia.”
“The seniors wanted a nice, classy evening event, and it fit with the personality of the senior class,” says Liu.
Juniors kept it secret until the big reveal March 20. Pacifico made a video that was presented at the reveal in the school’s auditorium.
“It’s exciting to watch them and their leadership skills,” says event sponsor Mary Cantillo. “They really require little support from me at all; they take care of all the details.”
The Golden Pine Cone
Every year, students award their fellow classmates with a spray-painted golden pine cone to recognize their uniqueness. The Cobalt Committee chooses about 12 students and honors them with the award as a reminder that their class loves them. The tradition started in 1985 when the theme was Academy Awards. Students presented every senior with a spray-painted golden pine cone mounted on a base to recognize their creativity.