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Perry, Woodward-Granger school districts adjust homecoming traditions

Allison Ullmann - Editor and Sean Cordy - Correspondent
Perry volleyball players Kacy Nevitt, Jasmine Shriver and Quinn Whiton help cheer on their classmates during Game Day in 2019. This year's Game Day will look different as it will be moved outside to Dewey Field.

Homecoming will still be celebrated this year in the Perry and Woodward-Granger school districts, though it will look different. 

COVID-19 concerns forced each district to take a look at the annual homecoming traditions and make changes in order to celebrate safely.

Perry

Homecoming will be celebrated Sept. 21-25 in the Perry Schools. Brenda Mintun, who helps coordinate homecoming, said she enjoyed the theme the students picked, “Let’s Hit the Road.” She said the students were sick of being stuck at home. The theme revolves around a road trip and dressing up for different vacations each day:

  • Sept. 21: Moana Monday - Hit the Hawaiian Beaches
  • Sept. 22: Texas Tuesday - Sportin’ the Southern Style
  • Sept. 23: Winter Wednesday - An Amazing Alaskan Adventure
  • Sept. 24: Theatrical Thursday - Hit the Hollywood Hotspot 
  • Friday, Sept. 25: Class Color Day
    • Freshmen - red
    • Sophomores - white
    • Juniors - black
    • Seniors - blue
    • Staff: - grey

Mintun said she was excited they found a way to have Game Day as it’s a big one for the students. This year’s event will have a different feel as it will be held outside at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25 at Dewey Field. Mintun added that the football field will allow them to be socially distanced with two classes on each side of the bleachers. The students will be spread out in their connections and advisory groups. The event will also be live-streamed.

Another change is coronation. This year’s coronation ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25 at Dewey Field. Mintun encourages fans to get to Friday’s football game early during pregame to watch the coronation ceremony. The varsity football game will kickoff at 7:30 p.m.

Homecoming week will conclude with a hypnotist for Perry High School seniors only at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26 in the Perry Performing Arts Center. Carnival games will also be offered from 7 p.m. through 12 a.m. on Sept. 26 at the Jim Kaufman Track.

Mintun said the carnival games will be set up around the track. Students will get a wristband and will need to stay with a select group that they sign up with. The games will be disinfected between the groups and the groups will be staggered so social distancing guidelines can be followed. The event will be limited to current Perry students and alumni to help limit exposure.

“(We’re) doing what we can to make it memorable for kids and keep it safe,” Mintun said.

Raccoon Valley Bank's parade float featured the 2019 homecoming theme "Is This Heaven? No, It's Perry!" While the 2020 parade has been canceled, Perry will still celebrate homecoming from Sept. 21-25.

This year’s event will not include past homecoming traditions like the parade, Volunteer Day or a dance. Though Mintun said they may look at having Volunteer Day in the spring as opportunities allow.

“One thing about the pandemic, it made us rethink the way we do things,” Mintun said. “It forced us to be more creative and come up with more ideas and say what do we really want and make it (work).”

Woodward-Granger

Keeping in line with the approach Woodward-Granger Community School District has taken with in-person instruction and extra curricular activities, homecoming will look different this year.

On Saturday, Sept. 12, high school principal Matt Boley and activities director Matt Eichhorn shared a video to update families on this year's events that have been cancelled or modified.

"While I know these activities are extremely important to our students and their families, our number one goal is to make sure students are safe," Boley said.

In light of social distancing issues, both the dance and booster club dinner have been cancelled with no alternative. While those primary events are gone, the district will still host versions of the annual parade with the homecoming court nominees with alternate routes in both Woodward and Granger. 

Woodward-Granger cheerleaders help warm up the crowd before the 2019 coronation ceremony. This year's ceremony will be held at halftime of the football game on Friday, Sept. 25.

The coronation for this year's queen and king will take place during halftime of the football game against Kuemper Catholic on Sept. 25 in place of an individual event Thursday night.

"Anything face to face just doesn't match up with what we're doing, trying to get from point A to point B. I know that's upsetting and not the most ideal but the year we're in, we have to make sure that we're being safe and we think no dance (or separate coronation) is the best option for that," Eichhorn said.

Additionally, the assembly that is held throughout the district will now be limited to the high school where participation will be contained to the gym.

What remains fully intact is the dress-up days that provide that homecoming atmosphere leading up to the football game. As a reminder, Boley and Eichhorn reminded everyone that face coverings are now required for entry to any school activity.