Pekin Community High School students and staff are over the moon as homecoming week draws to an end. This year’s theme is “Out of This World.”
Typically there is more involvement from the junior and senior classes than from freshmen and sophomore during spirit weeks like this. In an effort to get more underclassmen into the school spirit, steps were taken to draw them in.
Colleen Kahl is the student council sponsor and said that in the past only juniors and seniors were able to participate in powderpuff football. This year each class will have an opportunity to play. Freshmen will go up against juniors, and sophomores will face seniors. The winners of both games will play each other in the championship game. Current varsity football players will act as coaches, and male classmates can cheer on the sidelines for the girls. The games kicked off Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in Dawson “Dawdy” Hawkins Gymnasium at PCHS.
Another change this year is to the parade floats. Kahl said each class will make a float instead of only having the senior class create one. The parade begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday at James Field. It will then head east on Broadway Street, turn into the park and proceed to the PCHS Stadium.
The parade ends near the stadium so high school students in the parade and community members watching it may buy a ticket to cheer on the PCHS freshmen football team as it plays Washington at 5 p.m. Then people can stay and root for the varsity football team as they take on the Washington Panthers at 7:30 p.m.
Riding in the parade will be this year’s homecoming court. Kahl said that this year they included freshmen and sophomore attendants. While upperclassmen will be voted as this year’s king and queen, freshmen and sophomores will have a place on court for the first time.
The homecoming king and queen will be announced during class games, which take place between powderpuff games. Class games are played in the gymnasium and are designed to be a fun and entertaining way for PCHS students to have a good time. Kahl said that games include an obstacle game, a dance off, a “Minute to Win It” game and an eating competition. They always end with Come on Down, where the announcer asks students to come down if they have certain items. They are random items such as a concert ticket stub, gum, a green marker or a class schedule. They might also be asked to complete a task like tying five shoes together and bringing them down.
“Seniors have an advantage in that game,” said Kahl, “because they’ve been through it for three years.”
“It’s a fun way to come together as a school community,” Kahl added.
Students vote on the homecoming grand marshal. This year, the title was given to Sue Johnson, a PCHS dance teacher and dance team sponsor who retired last year. Kahl said that typically the teacher or staff member is usually retired.
“It is an honor to have been selected by the students at Pekin Community High School to be the grand marshal,” she said. “Having just retired from there on June 1, I miss my colleagues and students so much. I was quite surprised when I got the call, and I am so happy and grateful that they even thought of me. This actually would have been the first year in the last 20 years that I would not have marched in the Homecoming Parade with the PCHS dance team and marching band. I’m so thrilled to be part of it all.”
All week, staff and students have been getting into the homecoming spirit in a variety of ways. Student Council President and Senior Class President Katie Curtis said Student Council brainstormed ways to show school spirit while keeping with this year’s theme. They decided to have different dress-up themes all week. Monday was the day to wear bright colors. Tuesday was “dress like your favorite sports star” day. Wednesday people were encouraged to dress like a “Star Wars” character. On Thursday, it was Gemini Day, when pairs of two dressed like twins. Friday ended the week with showing school spirit by wearing red and white.
During the week, there was a booth set up near the counselors’ office with different trivia questions each day, Kahl said. They all revolve around their theme. She said Thursday, Gemini Day, they had pictures of different constellations for students to name. Then at the end of the week, the winners got Milky Way candy bars.
There was also a poster contest during students’ advisory period. The winners were in Priscilla DeLaere and Dione Gresham’s classes.
Curtis said the energy this week builds to Friday.
“My favorite part of homecoming week is the overall spirit of the parade with seeing the community watching what we’ve done and our accomplishments,” said Curtis. “I’m looking forward to having all classes involved this year. My advice is to get involved. It’s brought me lots of opportunities, and it makes it more fun.”