by Elizabeth Casolo, Declan Garrett, Paige Hayes, Anne-Emilie Rouffiac
In the weeks leading up to the homecoming game, spirit echoed throughout the Greenwich High School halls. With Greenwich High School’s academic rigor and competitive nature, finding something to look forward to can facilitate motivation in the student body.
“Homecoming week is meant to be a celebration of our school and our student body, and a representation of the pride that our students feel when they call themselves a Cardinal,” explained Kenleigh Merritt, the Vice President of Special Events in Student Government and a principal organizer of the week. Mandy Anderson and Jaydel Hernandez were the Homecoming Chairs, and, along with Ms. Foster, they were also crucial in putting together this school-wide event.
Across the United States, homecoming has become a well-attended custom. The University of Missouri hosted the first official homecoming football game in 1911. Following the relocation of the university’s football field, then-athletic director Chester L. Brewer invited alumni to “come home” to the university and watch the first game on the field. Several other schools in the Midwest eventually caught on. Colleges concentrated in Texas eventually adapted the festivities to fit their university’s needs. Baylor University was also a major player in the early homecoming scene.
So how do homecoming games and preparatory events stay so successful? With the pressures of high school, most students prioritize balancing academics, extracurriculars, and athletics, but, during homecoming week, Greenwich High School’s sizable population fosters school spirit.
The lack of participation in previous years, though, prompted Jaydel Hernandez, a 2019 homecoming chair, to get involved: “Usually you only see the cheerleaders or football players participate in the Spirit Week activities,” Hernandez explained. “I had [also] seen a lack of spirit from my Hispanic friends, and meーbeing a Latina myselfーwanted to change that.”
“It’s a week where people can represent themselves and express both themselves and their school in their own ways,” described Shannon Wills, a spirited student. “I personally enjoy it so much as I get to have so much fun.”
In order to optimize student participation and make sure that all students can enjoy it, the homecoming committee stayed true to most of Greenwich’s Spirit Week traditions while also making a few adjustments.
Jaydel Hernandez stated, “This year we decided to change a ‘staple’ Spirit Week theme. We thought that it would be cool if we started a new tradition at GHS, Way Back Wednesday. Everyone loves Color Wars, but, when talking to the student body, there was positive feedback on having a decades theme day, so we decided to go for it, and people seem[ed] to be super excited.” According to Kenleigh Merritt, other additions included the morning music and announcements, the theme for the Friday dance (which was Hawaii) and including the Cardinal Crazies in the Pep Rally.
Homecoming also has a special significance for seniors as it is their year at Greenwich High School. Senior Dress-Up Day captured their enthusiasm and school spirit, creating memories that will stay with them for years to come. Inflatable sloth costumes and Spongebob apparel dominated the high school’s hallway on Thursday prior to the game.
The football game was yet another highlight of the week. Despite the game being rescheduled to a weekday due to unsafe weather forecasts that weekend, the Greenwich football team pulled through with a win of 56-7 while surrounded by an audience of lively fans.
“Homecoming is different from our other home games because there is a lot of school spirit involved and everyone comes to support the team,” explained Mozi Bici, a Captain of the team. Evidently, the rescheduling did not taint the week’s atmosphere and the student body’s support for the football team, which fueled them onwards.
“Our confidence level was at an all time high after a great week of practice. Homecoming sets a big stage for the team and we play well under pressure,” said Tysen Comizio, another Captain of the football team. In the midst of throwback garb and school colors, there was a moment in which every student could embrace the homecoming spirit. One successful year of festivities can trigger years of excitement during this important week, making Homecoming something to look forward to each October.
Photo by Paige Hayes