Imagine a normal homecoming week at Manual. Loud, energizing pep rally participants meet colorful fashion, a dance filled with social galore, the feeling of school pride and and a football game that has even the shyest of students on their feet chanting and screaming for the Rams. This description brings back memories of a first homecoming for some students; for others, it’s an illustration of an event they’ve yet to experience.
2021 marks the second year in a row Manual has been unable to hold a a pep rally or a homecoming dance due to COVID-19, although an in-person homecoming week was finally a reality. This means the freshmen and sophomores, which is half of the school, have yet to experience the more ‘traditional’ aspects of homecoming.
A few alterations to the typical routine were made to fit COVID safety protocols and allow this event to happen as normally as possible. Instead of a pep rally to help promote school spirt and festivities, students and staff were encouraged to participate in themed dress up days.
Students were still able to vote on a homecoming court, king and queen; however, they just walked at the football game, as no dance was held. Jawaun Northington (12, HSU) and Kylie Seraphine (12, HSU) were crowned homecoming king and queen, respectively. The light the night with neon theme was carried on by the student section that Friday night at Manual stadium. Manual lost to Saint Xavier 42-10, but regardless the boisterous and school spirit filled crowd helped reinforce just how energetic and anticipated this week was.
One student compares how this year’s homecoming week relates to that of their freshman year.
“Looking back on freshman year homecoming, it feels like a century ago. Freshman year was fun and nerve-racking. Almost to the point, I could not fully enjoy myself because it was a first time experience. It was more of a time to take it all in rather than a time to live it up. Coming back after a year of no theme weeks or student sections, I wanted to make the most of every moment, and I could tell many of my classmates felt the same way. I could tell that everyone was excited to be back, no matter what the circumstances were. This year’s homecoming week is one to remember!” Logan Edwards (11, YPAS) said.
If everything goes according to plan and Manual is able to have a normal homecoming week next fall, it’ll be the first one for 75% of students. It’s important for the school to carry on traditions and pass on its legacy throughout the years. Hopefully, in following years, Manual will be able to hold pep rallies and a homecoming dance, not only for a continuation of tradition but also for the ability to give students a ‘normal’ high school experience.