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Homecoming 2021: Some Enchanted Evening

Homecoming 2021: Some Enchanted Evening

There’s a mystique that surrounds homecoming events in high school. For freshmen, it’s one of the first major events to mark their exit from middle school and elementary school before that. For seniors, it’s one of a series of last events – last homecoming, last final game of a given season, last JSB Formal, last exam. This is why pop culture loves a good homecoming story. It seems that for Berean students who plan Homecoming, overcoming the odds is a theme that repeats itself.

Last year, seniors in Student Government were told that Homecoming during the pandemic was just not possible. But they refused to let their last homecoming event disappear. They rallied and planned an event that was unlike any other Homecoming the school had seen. Homecoming 2020 went virtual. Students created a video of the Homecoming court being honored on the football field, and it all followed necessary COVID guidelines. For unconventional reasons, Berean’s 2020 Homecoming was unforgettable.

This year, with students back in classrooms, events like homecoming were bound to make a big comeback. Megan Upshaw, Lauren Watt, and Bebe Asuncion were the seniors tasked with planning this year’s festivities.

“We started thinking about Homecoming last spring,” says Upshaw. “At Berean, we traditionally have a formal dinner with a lot of activities and games for Homecoming. This year, we really wanted to do something more.”

The more that they wanted this year… well, they wanted to dance. Historically, Berean Christian has not allowed dancing at Homecoming, so this was going to be a tough sell to the school’s administration. But Upshaw and her classmates were up for the challenge.

They prepared a formal pitch for Mr. Esakson. They practiced their presentation, and on the day of their pitch, they made the argument that this has been an unusual year and it called for an unusual Homecoming. Students have been through a lot since we all started living under the fog of COVID anxieties and restrictions. The evidence of strain that COVID has placed on young people’s mental and emotional health has been well documented. Because of this, the seniors wanted this year’s Homecoming to be unique.

After Upshaw and her peers delivered the pitch, Mr. Esakson took their request to additional faculty and administration leaders at the school. The answer was no. Not this year.

Disappointed, but determined, leaders in student government continued planning homecoming festivities which included an activity-packed Spirit Week that the freshmen dominated. For Homecoming itself, the planning committee organized mini golf, ping pong, and corn hole game stations. They brought in a horse-drawn carriage and a frozen yogurt vendor. Parents and students worked hard on Saturday to decorate the venue.

It was beautiful. When students walked onto the location, it was like walking into a fairy tale. Spread out over the ranch-like property of Crosswinds Church, Homecoming was mostly outdoors. Lights and decorations were strung from wall to wall in the open-air barn. The students were impressed with the combination and elegance and fun that the setting offered. And there was one more surprise. Underneath one of the open structures, there was a space designated for… dancing!

The school’s leadership surprised the student body by reversing its original decision to exclude dancing as part of the event. This year, students could dance if they wanted to.

Upshaw was astonished and elated to learn that their pitch had actually worked. “It was so great,” she says. “We have dancing at our JSB event in the spring, but that’s just for juniors and seniors. This was special because it involved the whole student body.”

In addition to the beautiful venue, the horse-drawn carriage, and the dancing, Upshaw says that people really loved the frozen yogurt. “I mean, who doesn’t like frozen yogurt?”

 


 

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