Homecoming: Then and Now

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by Anya Sczerzenie

When you think of homecoming, what image pops into your mind first? For a Tuscarora student, it might be the decorated hallways, the sea of blue and black shirts at the football game, or the dance in the gym under the neon lights.

But Tuscarora is a very young school, and the tradition of homecoming has been around a lot longer than the school has. It first started around 1910 or 1911, at the University of Missouri, according to an active.com article. Since then, it has been a North American high school tradition. But like every other tradition, homecoming has changed over the years.

“When I was in high school, there was a dance every month. We wore jeans and it was casual,” said Mrs. Pellicano, one of Tuscarora’s librarians. ”Dances are a big production now. It was a different thing in high school back then and it was much more sports oriented. We had a parade, and there was a game, but I don’t even think there was a dance,” said Pellicano, who graduated high school in 1978.

Seeing all the work that the SCA puts into decorating for the dances, it is evident exactly how big of a production they are. Homecoming originally started out with the football game as the main event, and the dance as a supplementary party afterwards. Now it seems that the dance is the main event for most students in high school. “In general, homecoming used to be a much bigger deal. People came back, Homecoming court was a huge thing, everybody watched the parade and the game. Nowadays there is less of an old-fashioned community feel at homecoming.” said Coach Wheelbarger, the defensive coach for the football team. Similarly, Mr. Connelly, a Tuscarora biology teacher who graduated high school in 1995 said, “My favorite part of homecoming was that it was nice to hang out with friends, and it was interesting to see teachers outside of school. Some football players picked up one of the teachers and carried him around.”

Some of the people most associated with homecoming are its queens and kings; the members of the homecoming court. Tuscarora still elects a homecoming court, but it used to be more important to students. It was common for homecoming queens to get their own decorated float at schools that did parades. “We rented jeeps and drove them [the court members] around the field,” said Mr.Connelly. The excitement surrounding homecoming court seems to have decreased since then, with a little less than 50% of all Tuscarora students casting a vote for their class court, according to the SCA.  However, something positive may have come from this decreased enthusiasm for voting.  As Mrs. Pellicano said, “It isn’t less important, but it may have a different role to play. It’s not about popularity now, but more about supporting each other as a school.”

Tuscarora, being a young school, really has few traditions. But does that affect the quality of homecoming? When asked whether Tuscarora’s age affects the quality of homecoming, Mr. Connelly said, “Not a chance. This is the most hyped-up school I’ve ever been to. Just look at the hallways and pep rallies, and you’ll see.”