South-Western City Schools holding revamped homecoming activities

Alan Froman (afroman@thisweeknews.com)

With South-Western City Schools maintaining its blended-learning model, both Grove City and Central Crossing high schools have had to reimagine their homecoming-week activities.

Under the blended-learning model, students have been divided into two groups – a "blue" and "green" group, each attending class in person two days a week. Students participate in remote-learning activities at home on the other three days.

Although the homecoming activities are being adjusted – or in some cases canceled – because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, "we're trying to preserve as much as possible a sense of normalcy with homecoming," said Jennie Burris, who serves as student council adviser with Mike Cavey at Central Crossing.

"Homecoming is all about celebrating our school together," Grove City student council adviser Kaitlin O'Hara said. "I'm really proud of how our student council has created ways to encourage that sense of unity even during these unusual times."

Central Crossing and Grove City high school logos

The student councils at both high schools plan homecoming activities.

Grove City will hold its Spirit Week Oct. 12-15. Students will not have school Friday, Oct. 16, so the green group's attendance days are Oct. 14 and 15.

South-Western's blended plan calls for deep cleaning of schools, usually on Wednesdays, when no students are in attendance.

The theme for Spirit Week is "Stay at HOMEcoming."

"We're putting the emphasis on 'Home' since we will be having a virtual homecoming dance," O'Hara said.

The virtual dance will be held from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17. A live DJ will play music during the virtual dance, which students will be able to join via a platform released earlier in the week, she said.

"Students will be able to gather in small groups at their homes to watch the virtual dance, and we're asking them to come up with a special activity they can enjoy with their friends to make that evening a special night," O'Hara said. "Perhaps they'll go out to dinner together or cook something up at home."

It's disappointing that everyone won't be able to gather for a traditional homecoming dance, student body president Ireland Hester said.

At the same time, "decorating our homes and planning something special with the virtual dance gives us a chance to make this homecoming a more personal experience," she said. "In a way, it's bringing us closer together as a school."

Hester said she plans to invite a few friends to her house.

"We'll be going out somewhere nice for dinner, (and) then we'll be doing a bonfire at my house," she said. "I'm really looking forward to it."

Students will be able to submit videos of themselves or a group performing that will be shown during the virtual dance, O'Hara said.

They will be able to use the hashtag #HoundsAtHomecoming to tag pictures of their decorations and the activities they and their friends participate in Oct. 17, she said.

As usual, students will be invited to wear attire at school each day during Spirit Week linked to a specific theme, O'Hara said.

"The student council talked about having common themes for both the blue and green groups – two themes each would share – but they decided it would be more fun for there to be a different theme each day."

The themes include Make Yourself at Home Monday (pajamas), Tacky Tourist Tuesday (Hawaiian shirts/destination T-shirts), Home Run Wednesday (sports jerseys) and There's No Place Like Home Thursday (GCHS colors.)

Grove City's homecoming game was played Oct. 2 against Westland, and the Dawgs won 48-12.

The homecoming court ceremony was held before the game, and Dylan Boso was named homecoming king and Kendall Jamieson homecoming queen.

Central Crossing will hold its Spirit Week Oct. 19-23, Burris said. 

As of Oct. 7, the student council still was planning the activities that will be held during the week, including the dress-up themes for each day, she said.

"We will be voting for the homecoming court the week of Oct. 12, and there will be a homecoming-crowning ceremony on Oct. 23," Burris said.

The homecoming dance will be held at a later date, student council member Rebekah Reynolds said.

"We didn't want to do a virtual dance," she said. "The dance is such an important event. We thought it would be better to push the date ahead to when we hopefully can all gather together. We're hoping we'll be able to hold a dance sometime in February around Valentine's Day.

"The most important thing now is doing what we can during hard times," Reynolds said. "We're all getting used to the 'new normal.' We want to come up with ideas for homecoming to keep everyone excited and wanting to come to school."

afroman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekAfroman