Because of the unusual St. Clair High School football schedule that has the Bulldogs playing away from home the final three weeks of the regular season, Homecoming is rolling around earlier than usual this year.
In fact, according to the calendar, the annual autumn tradition will take place while it’s still summer.
Homecoming festivities at SCHS and in the community begin the week of Sept. 15 and culminate on Friday, Sept. 20, with the football game, king and queen crowning and high school dance.
Autumn starts on Sunday, Sept. 22.
“It’s my favorite time of year again,” SCHS teacher and Homecoming cosponsor Sarah Dierker told The Missourian. “Homecoming season is such an awesome time for the high school and the community. You can feel it in the atmosphere.”
The Bulldogs play five home games this season during the first six weeks of the football campaign with the last contest on the SCHS turf scheduled on Oct. 4. Because of that unusual schedule, R-XIII officials decided the best option was to conduct Homecoming festivities early.
“This year’s football schedule has the majority of our home games early in the season,” Dierker said. “September 27 is a professional development day so the students aren’t in session, and part of the hype of Homecoming is the activities on Friday. October 4 is the last home game and that serves as parents night.
“Basically, September 20 was our only option, and we knew it would be a huge event already and wanted to capitalize on that.”
On Friday, Sept. 20, events kick off at 12:30 p.m. with a pep assembly on the football field. It will include a performance from the SCHS jazz band, class games and a competition for the Homecoming candidates. Community members are invited to attend.
At 2 p.m., the annual Homecoming parade will start at the high school and weave its way to Bardot Street, East Springfield Road, South Main Street and Park Avenue. Buses will pick up students at Evergreen Park afterward.
The grand marshal will be Paul Hickey, who taught English, speech and drama for 29 years at SCHS before retiring at the end of the 2012-13 academic year. He continues to be the voice of the Bulldogs during home football games.
Parade participants will include the Homecoming court, high school clubs, organizations, fall athletes and the class floats. The class floats will follow the “Friday Night Live” theme.
Prior to the game, the SCHS National Honor Society will recognize members of the Class of 1989, who are celebrating their 25th reunion. A reception is planned at 6 p.m. in the library, and a class photo will be taken at 6:45 p.m. Reception attendees will be admitted to the game free. Class members will be recognized during halftime of the contest.
The football game against Sullivan begins at 7 p.m. At halftime, the king and queen coronation will take place.
Queen candidates are Hailey Ennis, Alexa Hoffman, Karissa Hoffman, Macy Levvintre, Emmy Naes, Sharon Wagner, Hailey Willis and Alicia York. King candidates are Dustin Conner, Spencer Crumbaugh, Ben Feddersen, Skyler Hutchison, Reno Jones, Harley Love, Jake Oermann and Tanner Wideman. The crownbearers will be Joshua Hawkins and Lily Verrett.
The retiring royalty are 2013 graduates Nicole Nardi and Dylan Hammer.
Immediately following the game until 11:30 p.m., the Homecoming dance will take place in the high school gym.
“I love to see the participation and school pride that arises from events such as Homecoming,” Dierker said. “There is much more to education than just textbooks. It is extremely important for kids to learn about citizenship, pride, sportsmanship, teamwork, character and the many other qualities they learn throughout the Homecoming experience.”
The student council has scheduled other activities through Homecoming week, including spirit days on Monday through Friday. Using the “Friday Night Live” theme, spirit days are “Movie Monday,” “TV Show Tuesday,” “Walt Disney Wednesday,” “Throwback Thursday” and “Red Carpet Friday.”
Students are encouraged to dress appropriately on each spirit day. On Friday, red and gray attire is the preference.
As has become the custom, there will be a spirit stick competition between the four classes for participation during the week, including the spirit days.
In addition, the St. Clair McDonald’s restaurant again is sponsoring a class competition for grades 9 through 12. It began on Friday, Sept. 6, and lasts through Sept. 18.
For every $1 of food purchased during that time frame, customers may receive one ticket to vote on the class of their choice. The winning class receives $500 courtesy of McDonald’s. The prize will be awarded during the pep assembly.
On Wednesday, Sept. 18, the powder puff football game and bonfire are scheduled. The game between junior and senior class girls will start at about 7 p.m. Admission is two nonperishable food items. Proceeds will benefit local holiday food baskets.
The bonfire, open to SCHS students only, will be lit at about 8:30 p.m. near the lower student parking lot.
Anyone who would like to purchase a 2013 Homecoming T-shirt or hoodie may do so by contacting any SCHS student council member. Costs are $10 for the shirt and $20 for the sweatshirt. Sizes XXL and larger are an additional $2.
“Students, faculty, staff and alumni are encouraged to attend the Homecoming events which have been planned throughout the week,” Homecoming cosponsor Roberta Byers said. “Student council has done a great job planning the week of events and hopes to see a lot of participation from the student body. It is an exciting time for the students, and it should be a lot of fun.”