Homecoming-who, what, when, where and why?

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Carly Eversole, [email protected]

Sweetwater County, Wyoming – With cooler weather, earlier sunsets, and school buses in the street, Fall has returned to Southwest Wyoming. The sound of children filling the hallway of schools, sneakers in the gym, chanting from the cheer team and musical scales of the band warming up are all familiar sounds to the back-to-school feeling in the air. With back-to-school comes a long-awaited event every year. Homecoming. Farson-Eden High School kicked off the homecoming season in Sweetwater county with theirs taking place September 6-10. Rock Springs High School just completed its homecoming week on September 17 and finally, Green River High School will begin theirs on September 19.

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Traditions of Homecoming week include dress-up days at school, royalty selection, bonfires, parades, pep rallies, and of course ending the week with a game played at home on Friday or Saturday night and of course-the Homecoming Dance. Although the 3 main high schools in Sweetwater County are very different due to size, location and student body, the feeling of homecoming week is the same with school pride as the center focus, with the community painting the towns with their home team colors in support.

But why is Homecoming celebrated? Where did it come from? How has it changed over the years?

Homecoming actually dates back to the early part of the 20th century, with debate over whether it began with the University of Illinois or the University of Minnesota. Long story short, both teams were reported to have pretty strong losing streaks going for them. With the approaching game with their respective rivals, the Chicago Maroons or the Wisconsin Badgers, school officials asked their alumni to come to the game and cheer on their team. Naturally, with all that support and the morale boost, the home team won, and thus the tradition of Homecoming week was born. The history gets even muddier when exploring when the first king and queen were crowned, the first bonfire, parade, etc. But even with those dates unclear, the tradition of homecoming week has stayed consistent in its intent-back to school cheering on the home team.

Yes, the focus of homecoming week traditionally was the football game and dance at the end of the week in colleges and universities, but as time went on the festivities trickled into high schools and began to encompass other sports. Now not only is the focus on football players, but tennis, swimming, volleyball, cross country, the band, and the dance and cheer teams. There’s something for everyone to get excited about nowadays.

 

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Green and yellow – Until recently Farson-Eden High School traditionally celebrated homecoming week, with the dance at the end, in the winter during basketball season until the implementation of their 6-man football team. This year both the volleyball team and football team took center stage to conclude the action-packed week. Even with the absence of a marching band or cheer squad at less populated schools the feeling is the same, in order to get a seat at the game, better get there early because the whole town is coming out in support!

Green and black – Green River High School is unique in hosting a powder puff football game this year.  These games are a reversal of roles all in fun and good times.  This year the freshman and senior girls will face off against the junior and sophomore girls in a game of flag football, while the boys cheer them on from the sidelines.  This will be the first event of their homecoming week on September 19 at 7 p.m. 

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Orange and Black – The tradition of seeing homecoming royalty throughout the week was kept strong by Rock Springs High School. Homecoming King senior Dylan Catterly was seen at all the events for his school and even participated in a local fundraising walk Saturday morning. Also, it won’t be easy to forget the festive outfits worn by Principal Glen Suppes and not to mention the Hawaiian attire donned by the Tiger mascot at the football game complete with…coconuts.

In summary, while homecoming traditions vary greatly by school, or may see changes in the future, the core motivation remains the same in this century-long tradition. Whether you bleed orange, are part of the wolf pack, or are on to victory, school spirit is alive and well in Sweetwater County.

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