Outdoor Homecoming Creates New Possibilities for Spirit Week


Student Council decorated the courtyard with strings of lights for the homecoming dance. (photo courtesy of Grace Coller)

In order to limit large-indoor, mask-less gatherings, the 2021 Homecoming Dance was held outdoors in the senior court. Student Council spent weeks setting up decorations and planning the event in order to bring the annual student event to the new environment. The theme for this year’s spirit week and dance was “Now Showing: CHS Homecoming 2021.”

Originally scheduled for Saturday, October 16, the dance was rescheduled to Saturday, October 23 due to rainy weather. The courtyard was decorated with strings of lights around the trees, lanterns, a tent for dancing, a photo booth, and a red carpet leading to the check-in table. While Ms. Forbes, a student council advisor, had done an outdoor pep rally years ago, the outdoor homecoming was a first. 

“I think the dance looks nice with the lights and everything. I think it’s going to be a different atmosphere; I think it’s going to be fun,” Ms. Forbes said. “Everyone who comes out here says ‘I didn’t know there was a garden,’ or ‘the tent looks really nice with the lights.’”  (photo courtesy of CHS Ship’s Log)

Having organized the homecoming dance for the last twenty-six years, Ms. Forbes knew the switch to the outdoor setting would make the prep-work, and the dance itself, a little different. With the dance outside, Ms. Forbes had to coordinate with vendors ahead of time, to make sure they were aware of the possibility of postponement. 

“It’s been different because the dance is outside, which I’ve never done before, so it presented a few blocks for decorating, and how to make sure it looks as nice as usual,”  Ms. Forbes said. “The weather was a problem as well because we had to postpone it.”

Due to COVID-19, there was no Homecoming Dance last school year, which means for the freshman as well as the sophomore classes, this year was their first experience with a homecoming dance. Additionally, Ms.Forbes explained that the gap year caused by COVID may have changed the feel of the dance.

“I think there’s excitement, but I also think people forgot a lot of stuff. I think the seniors forgot a little bit about what seniors normally do, and how they normally come running into the building,” Ms. Forbes said. “We were ready for the seniors to come running in, in kind of the way they charge into the building… but it’s hard to determine if that’s the personality of this senior class or if it’s because they were sophomores the last time [homecoming] happened.” 

At the dance, students expressed their gratitude for getting the opportunity to have a homecoming dance this year. 

“It was a great way for me to make memories with my friends for one of the last times,” senior Miana Alessandroni said. 

Student Council rented out a tent for students to dance under, which was decorated with lanterns (photo courtesy of CHS Ship’s Log).

For freshmen, the dance was a way for them to become better acquainted with the spirit of the high school, and participate in one of their first major school events. 

“I had a lot of fun, made a ton of memories, and it made me feel more a part of CHS,” freshman Eliza Jefferies said. 

With no dance last year, the seniors shared the sentiment that they were thankful for the dance, even though it was different from the traditional homecoming experience. 

“Homecoming was a blast; it’s great that we had it this year, especially since we missed it last year because of COVID,”  senior class president Croix Horsely said. 

Though Ms.Forbes was “nervous” about how the dance would play out in the courtyard, students proved they did not need a dance floor to have fun.

“People were splashing water bottles in the crowd,” Horsely explained, “but even then it was still great.” 

At the football game on Friday, October 15, the homecoming king, Gianluca DeCristafaro, and the homecoming queen, Antoinetta Marino, were announced. 

“When our names were announced at the football game, I was shocked and super excited,” Marino said. “It was a night full of emotions, and I’m so happy Gianluca [and I] got this opportunity to represent our school.”

Both Marino and DeCristafaro agreed being crowned Homecoming Royalty was a special experience for them. 

Gianluca and Antionetta smile at the homecoming football game after being announced homecoming king and queen. (photo courtesy of of CHS Ship’s Log).

“I was so happy to be announced as king; it was nice to have my friends and family cheering for me,”  DeCristafaro said. 

Although the seniors won class color day, getting third place at the pep rally proved detrimental to their chances at Spirit Week victory as it was announced at the end of the dance that the juniors won the coveted spirit stick. 

According to students, this year’s first outdoor homecoming dance was an opportunity to get back a school function that was unfortunately missed last year.