They were told it couldn’t be done. The Coronavirus had taken the last part of their junior year away from them, and now it was taking away Homecoming at the beginning of their senior year as well. They understood, but it was a blow to their spirits.
Alea Tyquiengco (Sr.) remembers the night this fall that she sat up in bed; she couldn’t let it go. “I didn’t want to give up on Homecoming.”
She called her classmate, Sydney Sodergren (Sr.) and they agreed to try to come up with a plan. They knew they would need support from Mrs. Smith and the rest of student government. So they called for a good old-fashioned brainstorming session.
“It wasn’t super organized,” says Sydney. Brainstorming can be messy under normal circumstances, but doing it over Zoom takes it to another level. Nevertheless, after about 45 minutes the students had resolved to save Homecoming.
Sydney says that it was Alea’s idea to have the whole thing on the football field. Mrs. Smith made it very clear that whatever solution they came up with had to comply with COVID safety guidelines. No problem; they could do this.
They planned the way the homecoming court would stand on the field – staggered and spaced at least six feet apart. Student government wanted to honor the students who had been nominated to be royalty, so this year’s Homecoming event would focus on them.
The homecoming project tested student government’s ability to make a plan that met specific guidelines, got lots of people engaged, and solved a real problem that their audience – the student body – cared about.
It wasn’t easy. New members of the student government class were hesitant at first. There was no guarantee that the administration would approve their plan. And they needed to figure out how they were going broadcast the ceremony to the school community.
Their final plan involved a full student film crew posted with a bird’s-eye view above the field, and down on the ground to get close-up shots of royal members of the court. Alea and Sydney wrote a script that highlighted the Christ-like characteristics of each member of the royal family. It needed to be carefully constructed between them, because Sydney was nominated as a princess.
The ceremony was recorded in front of Berean Christian High School’s faculty and staff who sat in the bleachers and cheered for each of their students on the field. The film crew, led by Jack Winston and Reese Kent gathered the footage of the ceremony and created a video that could be shared with the student body.
The end-result was a win for students and the greater BCHS community eager to snatch an important annual tradition back from the hands of the Coronavirus.
“The homecoming project brought student government closer together as a team,” says Sydney. “It taught me a lot about the value of being flexible, and in the end it gave us a piece of normality.”
During a time when high school students are required to give up many of the important traditions that are part of the high school experience, these students found a way to reclaim their Homecoming.
They are, and have every right to be, very proud of what they did together.