Students anticipate unusually early Homecoming


The varsity football team gets the school pumped for the Homecoming game at the 2016-17 pep rally.

One of the most classic traditions in the back-to-school season, Homecoming week, comes early this year, with spirit days starting on Monday. In fact, it will be taking place on the second week of school itself. As the school’s Homecoming festivities usually take place the latest in the county, as evidenced by the APS school calendars, students are wondering how the comparative abruptness of this year’s celebration might affect the experience they will have.

Last year, Homecoming took place in mid-October, which was relatively late in 2016. This gave last year’s Student Council Association (SCA) almost a month and a half to complete their preparations. This year, the SCA will have only about a week to plan Homecoming after school starts, which poses a challenge. “The SCA will have to purchase shirts earlier, and we will also have to plan our hallway design more quickly than in previous years according to the theme, video games,” junior and SCA class president Sarah Russell-Hunter said. “We will definitely have to publicize a lot more quickly as well.”

Other experienced SCA members also agree that organizing Homecoming this year will be more of a challenge than last year because of the heavy time constraint. Still, they are sure that they will be able to do the job well and even hope that they will improve upon last year’s event.  “It is definitely going to be a challenge to make sure everything is organized and well planned before Homecoming arrives,” senior and SCA President Alex Pascocello said. “We will have to start working earlier and harder and learn how to work together quickly as a group to accomplish this task.”

Administrators who have worked closely with the SCA in past years seem to echo Pascocello’s confidence in this year’s SCA and their ability to organize a great week ahead. “Before the 2016-2017 school year let out, [the SCA] knew this year’s Homecoming date so we began to plan in May & June,” math teacher and SCA sponsor Ms. Timica Shivers said. “SCA also met several times this summer for preliminary planning, as we knew there would be a time crunch when everyone returned to school. Additionally, the individual class governments have also been planning since June.”

Choosing this early Homecoming date was not a spur-of-the-moment decision by administrators. “Because we can only host five home football games each year, our choices are limited.” Ms. Carol Callaway, director of student activities, said. “We do not want to have Homecoming held during the first or last game, so that leaves us with three choices. One home game is on a Thursday, so now we are down to two.”

This tough choice between only two possible dates for the Homecoming game is what led the school to settle on next week. “When choosing the date, I confer with Dr. Robertson and the administrative team along with Coach Shapiro and SCA Sponsors. We felt like between the two dates, having Homecoming in September would bring the school together sooner and be more enjoyable than if held in late October.”

However, some students feel that an early Homecoming will be not only harder to plan on the SCA’s part, but also less enjoyable for the student body. “I’m pretty sure that having Homecoming this early will take away from the experience,” sophomore Tyler Young said. “It just doesn’t give people enough time to get used to school again. With all the other stuff that goes on during the first week, I don’t think anybody will really be getting excited.”  

Other students disagree with that mindset and are more neutral about the change in date. “I don’t think that having Homecoming early is going to change anything,” junior Alice Morre said. “As long as the SCA is organized and uses their time well, I think that the experience will be just as good as last year.”

Past SCA members are hoping to draw from their experiences planning Homecoming last year to help them make it even bigger and better this year. “I think just knowing how the events like the pep rally are supposed to run will make them much easier to organize and carry out,” Pascocello said. “That’s going to be really helpful for me this year.”

The SCA hopes they have differentiated this year’s Homecoming from last year’s by improving the theme and spirit days based on what students responded best to last year. “Using the class Instagram, especially to conduct polls, makes the SCA a lot more inclusive and receptive to outside ideas,” Russell-Hunter said. “We will be using the Instagram to conduct polls throughout the Homecoming season this year.”

The spirit days and the pep rally are the areas over which the SCA has most control and creative freedom, so they hope that their innovative ideas will show, specifically in these events. “We are probably most excited about planning the pep rally,” Pascocello said. “This has always been our big fall event where we can showcase our school sports, play some games and get everyone ready for Homecoming.”

Both the SCA and the administration have high hopes for next week. “We get an entire new group every fall, and they bring a different element to things,” principal Dr. Gregg Robertson said. “Also, the SCA is made up of new people too, who have new ideas. I’m very excited to see what this year’s Homecoming will bring.”