Homecoming: The Hands Behind the Scene
Author Alexa Quindlen
When we hear the word “homecoming”, as Charter students, many ideas pop into our heads. Maybe you picture our Friday Night Lights homecoming game, and cheering on our football team with your closest friends. Or, let’s say you thought of our Spirit Week pep rally, during which our hilarious hosts lead all four grades in fun games and competitions. No matter what you think of when you hear homecoming, I believe all of Charter can agree on one idea: homecoming season is one of the most exciting times of the school year. However, amidst all of the merriment and commotion, has anyone ever stopped to think who brought us here? Who enabled students to enjoy all of the games and activities, and who orchestrated all of the events that create our perfect homecoming season? In order to better appreciate Spirit Week and Homecoming 2018, I decided to take a closer look at Charter’s own student government, who is the team behind the arrangement. Specifically, I chose to interview Kari White, the Vice President of Student Government and Representative of the Junior Grade, and Annabelle Ryu, a Representative of the Junior Grade and Historian. Both of these ladies helped majorly when it came to organizing a spectacular homecoming dance on October 13th, 2018, and helped me gain a better understanding of what exactly it takes to put together the idealistic homecoming week.
For all four grades, Homecoming Week begins the Monday before the dance. However, for Kari and Annabelle, as well as the other students in student government, homecoming starts practically when the school year starts after summer break. Homecoming preparation commences long before the student body is even back into the routine of waking up to get to their bus stop on time! The Juniors are the grade in charge of all things homecoming- deciding the theme, setting up and cleaning up, even stocking snacks and drinks for during the dance. This being said, the Juniors meet very early on to decide the theme for the dance, which this year was Kyoto. The school gives student government a roomy budget of around 5,000.00$ to spend on homecoming and spirit week, and as both Annabelle and Kari said, it is a pretty manageable budget. The harder aspect is deciding what to spend that budget on. Once the theme is decided, the team collaborates with their moderator, Mrs. Toner, to create a lists of supplies that are both affordable and acceptable for the dance. They place orders and begin receiving shipments during the entire month of September. This process is extremely time consuming; Kari estimated a lengthy 15 hours of searching for supplies, building, and setting up per person once the season is over.
Once all of the early preparation is in order, and the days begin to get chilly with the arrival of October, student government starts to get more intense as their busiest week begins creeping closer. According to Kari, “Personal life goes on hold during Spirit Week.” The previous week, as well as Monday and Tuesday of Spirit Week, are dedicated to building smaller structures for the dance, and making sure all of the orders placed have arrived. Come Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, student government kids go into autopilot as their days are spent working nonstop. Thursday, students are at school from the end of the school day at 2:15PM, until 10:00PM. Instead of helping the rest of their grade decorate the hallways for the pep rally the next day, these students are busy building and painting, as well as organizing which items go where in the lobby. Friday, their work hours lengthen, staying at school from 12:00PM, as the school’s half day concludes, until 10:00PM, which means that plans of attending the Friday Night Lights game is off of the table. Instead, they have their own lock-in in Mrs. Toner’s room, painting, gluing, and eating cookies for dinner.
While this already is a considerate amount of time spent setting up, the students aren’t off duty quite yet; on Saturday, the day of the dance, student government kids will come in to move everything down to the lobby and set all of it up until roughly 2:00PM, with the possibility of running longer or ending early. They must be back at school by 6:00PM, an hour before the dance begins, to put together last minute touches. This, in turn, does not leave much personal time for the kids the day of the dance. While, for most students, getting ready for homecoming is a day-long event, student government kids give that term a whole new definition- not getting themselves ready, but everything else ready for the rest of the student body. Once the dance commences, and everyone is enjoying themselves, student government kids fulfill certain jobs. One of these jobs could be what they call “Lobby Duty”, which entails surveying the lobby and the areas around it to make sure everyone is being safe and appropriate. Kids are expected to be on shift at least twice, for a half an hour each time. Meanwhile, when they aren’t covering shifts for student government, they are able to enjoy all of the hard work they put into the dance. Afterwards, when all of the students have safely left the building and are on their way home, student government stays behind to clean up after the dance for another hour, which means they’re departure time is pushed back to midnight. That puts them at a total of approximately 10 hours at school on the day of the dance only, most of the time being spent setting up and tearing everything down.
Although preparing an ideal homecoming week for the entire school is stressful and somewhat strenuous, both of the ladies that I’ve interviewed said that they wouldn’t change it. Kari White, who has been a part of student government since her freshman year, said, “I love it, I’m so excited for spirit week to spend 6+ hours sitting in the hallways hunched over a piece of cardboard painting it and eating cookies.” All of the student government kids can agree on how rewarding it is to see their hard work come together in the end, and see the student body enjoying everything they have created. So, when homecoming comes around next year, let us all take time out of our day to realize how much these students do for us in order to make sure all Charter students have a fantastic homecoming week. I’d like to say a special thanks to Kari White and Annabelle Ryu for letting me interview them, and for putting together our 2018 Homecoming, which was a success for everyone who attended.