Tradition or Progression: The Homecoming Revolution

Kya Nethercot, Editor in Chief


Homecoming, love it or hate it, you can’t deny that it’s an integral part of a school’s culture and pride. Over the years, our school’s culture has seen many significant changes, but does that justify discarding so many traditions that made Mariner what it was? 

Homecoming has changed a lot over the years. This year it will look a lot different than previous years in a few ways, according to ASB Leadership teacher Emmalee McNeil, the new organizer of the event. The goal of these changes is to better “represent who we are as Mariner.”

“[It will be] less about princesses and princes and more about who we are as individuals,” McNeil said. 

In practice, this will include changes to the voting process for king and queen. “Instead of a popularity contest [in which] only kids like leadership kids and sports captains” have a chance at being considered, each club or activity will have an opportunity to nominate a member for the homecoming court according to McNeil. 

This is supposed to ensure that people who are “doing awesome things that we don’t always see, get the recognition they deserve,” McNeil said.

The new homecoming will undoubtedly be different than anything seen at Mariner before, but changes have been growing over the last several years, according to the previous homecoming advisor Nick Angelos. 

Many old traditions have died off over the years. Before, homecoming was a whole week of festivities. Every day of the week had its theme. “Wednesday, you would dress up [in formal attire],” he said. Wednesday was also the day of the coronation ceremony, which was then a separate assembly than the crowning on Friday. 

Homecoming was a “celebration of seniors,” and “the court was all seniors.” Other classes each had their responsibilities regarding the celebration. The juniors organized it; the sophomores held the reception; it involved the participation of every class.

One fascinating Mariner tradition was the Faculty Toga Team. Staff would dress in full Greek attire (white toga and wreaths). The Faculty Toga Team used to make a show of comedically pretending to beat a version of the opposing team’s mascot. Such a unique homecoming game tradition would have been amusing for the student body now. 

Another major difference in the week was the hallway decoration. Initially, it was a classroom door decorating contest with a pizza or donut party as a prize for the winners. Later, it changed into each class, having a hallway to decorate in honor of homecoming week. Now, the tradition is vastly different. 

There also used to be an exciting half-time show at the homecoming game itself. Angelos said that there was even a fireworks show for many years! Like many other exciting traditions, this was also done away with.

The gradual decline of these traditions could have been a great loss to our school’s culture. However, the new concept of inclusion could achieve what Angelos believes is the primary goal of the old traditions: “to make sure students had a memorable and great experience in their last year of high school.”