WHS Homecoming has a new look

Editor's note: This story was originally published in September 2016. WORTHINGTON -- Classes are just getting off the ground in ISD 518, but Homecoming is already in the air. Festivities are scheduled at Worthington High School (WHS) throughout n...

The Worthington High School Homecoming Court, elected this week and announced Friday, includes: Front row (from left) -- Manny Dominguez, Smile Bu, Than Kyaw, Sergio Talamantes, Reynald Marin and Payton Sauerbrei. Middle row: David Santos, Ahmitara Alwal, Abigail Velazquez, Jissel Euceda, Anna Meyer, Jessica Ventura, Victor Alvarez. Back row: Zach Boever, Ivan Rodriguez, Abbi Mulder, Paige Heidebrink, Maddi Woll, Alyssa Landwehr. (Tim Middagh/Daily Globe)

Editor's note: This story was originally published in September 2016.


WORTHINGTON -- Classes are just getting off the ground in ISD 518, but Homecoming is already in the air.


Festivities are scheduled at Worthington High School (WHS) throughout next week, with events culminating on Friday when a combined pep fest/coronation (open to parents and interested community members) will take place at 1 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium.



That’s a switch from years of having the coronation ceremony, which introduces a student-elected “royal court” comprised of ninth through 12th graders, at a separate time earlier in the week.


And while the early Homecoming presents some challenges, the three WHS faculty members who advise the school’s Student Council (Kerry Johnson, Emily Cowan and Sandra Hoff), also believe it offers a few advantages.


“Next week had more of the WHS sports teams playing local games or engaged in home meets than the second option being considered, so we thought this offered a chance for a greater number of athletes to be featured, and with it also being King Turkey Day week, we hope more alumni might be around, too,” explained Johnson.


The scheduling of Homecoming events is only one change being implemented; the WHS Student Council is also introducing an entirely new approach to the concept of student “royalty,” including a move to “spirit wear” rather than formal attire for the Homecoming court.



“There will be student royalty selected at three different times of the year: for Homecoming, for a winter ‘Snowcoming’ and for a Spring Fling,” listed Johnson.


“Students will be eligible for the various courts if they’re involved in activities -- sports, clubs or other extra-curriculars -- during the particular season the event occurs.


“The activity and sports rosters will be broken down by grade and gender, with each grade selecting its own representatives, and the following week all grade levels will vote on the senior representatives,” she continued.


“This way, more kids will have an opportunity to be acknowledged over the course of the year for their student leadership and involvement, and students can only be chosen for one court at most each year.”



While WHS has received inquiries from a few parents wondering about the alterations to the Homecoming traditions, the roughly 30 Student Council members and their advisers believe the modifications may be refreshing and welcomed by the student population at large.


“We’re hoping these changes will help bring the whole student body together and really let us show our Trojan pride as one school,” expressed WHS junior Kyle Janssen, the 2016-17 Student Council historian.


“We’re really excited for this year’s Homecoming, even though change might seem a little scary at first, but I think it will be a huge success.”


As in past years, the 2016 WHS Homecoming week includes daily “theme days,” with Monday designated as “Get Up and Go” (school-appropriate pajamas or sweats), “Tie Dye Tuesday,” “Around the World Wednesday,” “Color War Thursday” (ninth-graders wear purple, 10th-graders wear green, 11th-graders wear blue and 12th-graders wear black) and Trojan pride clothing on Friday.


“Next Friday afternoon will start with a picnic lunch of walking tacos and a DJ, followed by the 1 p.m. pep fest/coronation,” noted Johnson.


The student fun continues following the evening’s home football game, with a dance/activity night that features dancing and music, as well as pop, pizza and games like volleyball and basketball in the WHS auxiliary gym.


“We’re trying to maximize involvement and make it about having a fun, safe place for students to hang out with their friends,” stressed Johnson.


“The fact that all students may now be admitted free to any school activity when presenting their I.D.s was a great move on the part of the administration and school board, because it removes cost as a barrier to involvement -- although there is a small fee for the Homecoming dance/activity night.”


Because students have been an integral part of discussing and devising these changes, Johnson is hopeful the efforts will be successful.


“Our Student Council, with senior co-presidents Julia Luke and Jada Nelsen, has worked hard throughout the summer on this.


“Having Homecoming early gives us a chance to instill some of those ‘school spirit’ practices right off the bat,” she continued. “We’re treating this like a school year kick-off celebration and are attempting to introduce a positive culture of participation and support for the entire student body.”

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