Decatur goes “Back to the Future” for Homecoming Week 2021

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Junior class powder-puff football team after taking first place on Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Rowan Wilkins, Staff Writer

After missing homecoming festivities last year, Stephen Decatur High School students welcomed a few surprising changes for Spirit Week 2021.

Decatur followed the theme of “Back to the Future” for their spirit week from October 18-23. Due to COVID-19 keeping so many students out of school and interrupting typical events, this was both freshman and sophomores first experience with homecoming week.

Following the “Back to the Future” theme, students on Monday of Spirit Week were encouraged to wear clothes that supported their favorite sports teams or colleges. Later that night, students came out to the tennis courts for pickleball games.

Tuesday’s theme had students dress as their favorite characters. The original plan for Smish Smosh — a combination lip sync battle and talent show — was for it to be held that night in the football field. But due to a lack of participation, students were informed that Smish Smosh was cancelled.

This news was disappointing to both students signed up for Smish Smosh, as well as those involved in the theatre department at Decatur.

“Smish Smosh has always been theatre department’s yearly fundraiser. It typically gives us a good budget to use for our shows for the rest of the year,” said senior Brodie Dehart. “With this recent cancellation and COVID-19, we haven’t been able to have a fundraiser, which is disappointing, to say the least.”

Powder Puff football and cheerleading was still on for Wednesday night. For each grade, students formed girls’ football and boys’ cheerleading teams to compete against one another. In the end, juniors took first place for the football competition and seniors received first place for cheerleading.

Many agreed that Wednesday was a successful spirit day, with most students dressing according to the “country vs. country club” theme, as well as the Powder Puff game being the most attended in the last few years.

“Compared to Spirit Weeks in the past, this most recent one has definitely garnered a lot more attention,” added Dehart. “After coming back from lockdown for a year and a half, students definitely have developed a want to participate in collective activities.”

For Decades Day, students dressed as a specific decade according to their grade. Freshman were assigned the 1950s, sophomores the 1960s, juniors the 1970s, and seniors the 1980s. On Thursday, teachers were asked to dress as in a 1990s theme.

For the final day of Spirit Week, students wore their Homecoming T-shirts to show school spirit before attending the pep rally Friday afternoon.

Decatur pep rallies were new for half the students, many of which showed hesitant support, while others dove right into the cheering. Seniors participated in the senior walk-out dressed as pirates, the theme they had picked out. Instead of walking around the track as they usually would, they were seated almost immediately in chairs on the track below the packed stadium seats.

To make up for the cancelled event, students from the theatre department were brought on the field to perform a quick dance number in place of Smish Smosh. During the pep rally, students from each fall sports team were recognized as well.

Senior Khi Reed was recognized as Homecoming King during the pep rally. Senior Bailey Pusey was announced as Homecoming Queen during the football game that night, where the Seahawk football team defeated the Easton Warriors, 49-28.

Before the dance, the Homecoming 5-K relay race was held Saturday morning to raise money for the cross country team. Freshman earned first place in participation for the event. Juniors Mackenzie Cathell and Carolina Novelli took first place at the relay for the girls, with seniors Tristan Dutton, Jake Gillespie, Gavin McCabe, Luke Bahlman, and Justin Hicks receiving that spot for the boys.

At the end of the week, participation points were tallied up for each grade and the standings for Homecoming Week 2021 were announced. With 285 points freshman took fourth place, followed by sophomores with 300 points in third, juniors with 305 points in second and seniors in first place with 360 points.

The Homecoming Dance itself, with a 1950s sock hop theme, was held from 7-10 p.m. on the football field. High-heeled shoes were not permitted on the field, something students did not hesitate to comment on. Others weren’t as pleased but easily accepted the different rule, seeing as sooner or later most girls end up taking their heels off at the dance anyway.

Despite a gloomy forecast, the weather stayed tame and the event was much more open than when it is usually held in the gym. A slight chill rushed through, with a momentary drizzle, but most students were too busy dancing to be concerned.

“I feel like that describes most of 2021 homecoming – everything was different but it was still a lot of fun,” said Sophomore Macy Woroniecki. “I honestly loved wearing more comfortable shoes. It was cool to do something different. It felt like we finally got to have some fun at school for the first time since the shutdown.”