Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Excitement of Homecoming Week

There really is nothing like Homecoming Week at Gaston Day. Each day has a theme. Monday is pajama day. Students, large and small, and even the less inhibited teachers are dressed in flannels and bathrobes. Tuesday is denim day. Wednesday: tacky day--and believe me when I tell you that the outfits really are outrageous and weird! Thursday: fictional character day. Friday: blue and white day.

Striking the balance between a week of gigantic school spirit and academics is tricky. Students try to convince teachers that Homecoming Week should be less demanding. Teachers are more or less sympathetic, but also recognize the need to maintain academic focus. Parents and students swing from enthusiasm to exhaustion. Should there really be this many important assignments and tests on Homecoming Week, they ask?

Meanwhile, the excitement and anticipation around the Homecoming Court and the crowning of the Queen is steadily and inexorably building. Who do you think is going to win? Who do you want to win? Is it a popularity contest, a beauty contest, or both? Who will have the prettiest dress? Who are the escorts? How are the mothers doing?

On Thursday night, there is a Hall of Fame Dinner at which new members are inducted into the Gaston Day School Sports Hall of Fame. For me, the evening is nostalgic and emotional as so many of the Hall of Famers are my schoolmates, coaches, or former students.This year's inductees include Lud (1973) and Sandra Garrison Hodges (1975); Coach and Athletic Director Ronnie Digh (1968-1976); Andy Warlick (1975); and T.J. Taylor (2005). Doug Meyer-Cuno, GDS graduate and current Board Trustee, is responsible for conceiving the idea of the Hall of Fame, and he has chaired the Hall of Fame Selection Committee for the last two years. In addition to the dinner, new Hall of Famers will be introduced on Homecoming Night and their Hall of Fame Plaques unveiled.

And then, it is Friday! By this time the excitement (madness?) has built to a fever pitch. There is a whole-school pep rally Friday afternoon. This includes the annual faculty-student basketball game, which pits students not on the varsity basketball team against a hodgepodge of faculty members. Victory for the faculty is a game without injury.

And then, it is show time! Homecoming night features a varsity double-header, the introduction of the Hall of Famers, and...drum roll, please... the introduction of the Homecoming Court and the announcement of the Homecoming Queen, voted on by the upper school student body.The stands are usually packed, our class representatives and their escorts look fabulous, and it is a wonderfully uplifting and happy evening! How could anything be more full of youthful promise, pageantry, and celebration? If Homecoming doesn't make you feel good about life, I am not sure what will.

So I invite everyone to come to Homecoming on Friday and have the time of your life!! The excitement, anticipation and fun really is steadily building. It won't be long now!