By focusing on fun and school pride, high school administrators can plan a successful series of events for high school homecoming.
Homecoming is a century-old tradition that originally started as a fundraiser for schools that would invite alumni to attend homecoming events and, of course, give generously. High school homecoming and spirit week continue to be lavish events including sports, parties, and parades that culminate in the last activity of the week: the homecoming dance.
The homecoming dance has received some of the same criticisms in recent years as the high school prom. Too much money gets spent on dresses and dinners, too much drinking occurs behind the scenes, and too many expectations are put on the shoulders of teenagers. School officials and parents are well advised to spread the focus of homecoming over the course of the entire week, and to discourage students from spending lavish amounts of money on Blue Homecoming Dresses, limousines, and other accouterments.
Administrators and faculty can pick a theme for the homecoming dance that focuses on something fun. For example, plan a Hawaiian luau theme and decorate the gym (where the dance is held) with orchids and pineapples. Serve tropical punch, and hand out plastic leis at the door. Encourage boys to wear tropical shirts instead of formal wear.
Other ideas for fun high school homecoming dances include Halloween fright night, Wild West, or Renaissance. It is good to keep the focus on fun and away from romance and money.
Homecoming lasts for one week, and is also know as Spirit Week. High school faculty can team up with a team of students to plan something fun for every day that everybody can easily participate in. The activities become more involved each day as they lead up to the big homecoming weekend. For example:
Monday: Special School Assembly. Kick off spirit week with an assembly featuring a slide show of the school, past and present, and an alumnus guest speaker. Hand out mums or carnations dyed in school colors, and present the schedule for the rest of the week.
Tuesday: Silly Hat Day. Faculty and students wear the silliest hats they can think of. Silliest hat awards are presented at an end of day assembly, one for each grade level.
Wednesday: Treasure Hunt. Students receive a list of things to find throughout the day; prizes are awarded on each grade level for completed lists.
Thursday: Games Day. Either at lunch or for the last period (or two) of the day, organize games such as a three legged race. Pairs of students first compete among their grades, then the grades compete against each other.
Friday: Pep Rally. Students are encouraged to wear school colors all day.
Saturday: Football game and homecoming dance.
Cheerleading and Pep Rallies
Pep rallies should be enjoyable and entertaining events. Successful pep rallies take time to plan and are well scripted. Pep rallies can include funny skits and presentations. Cheerleaders teach the rest of the student body specific cheers and songs that the students can then use during the homecoming game. This is also a time for cheerleaders to dazzle the audience with their best athletic moves.
Faculty should work with students on a "Pep Rally Planning Committee." Not only will the students enjoy being a part of the process, but they will know how to best reach their peers.
High School Yearbook
The high school yearbook team of staff and students should take pictures of the numerous events during spirit week. They should make a point of getting everybody in the shots, not just the most popular students. Memories of homecoming will be an important section of the yearbook.
A successful high school homecoming is a well planned event that makes an effort to appeal to the entire student body.