BY SYDNEY SNELSON
Happy Homecoming week Patriots! You know what this means: Overdone spirit days, cheesy signs, and most importantly, rules! Homecoming is an American tradition. The usage of the dance as a climax to a rom-com or coming-of-age story showing the characters having the best night ever, almost makes me want to believe them.
But the truth is, Homecoming is not movie-like. It’s not even small-budget, indie TV show-like. It’s pirated movie you found on the street next to the guy eating expired yogurt-like. At least at Truman. I mean I’m sure there’s some school out there that focuses on the experience rather than restrictions, but this is the ISD we’re talking about.
There are five main parts of Homecoming: Decorations, King and Queen elections, theme, music, and the shirt design. They can all make or break the night, and with the recurring choices the student board continues to make, it’s no wonder Truman’s Homecoming is always a flop.
Let’s begin with the themes and decorations because they should always be connected. Should be. The themes, which are picked by the student council executive board, have lacked creativity, to say the least. Fall of 2019 was inspired by Imaginary Future’s “Love is Beginning” and featured lots of cloud decorations as seniors Alicia Mesh and Jude McGraw recall. The following year in 2020, although no dance, the board used “Under the Stars” as a theme. Last year, 2021, the board picked Paul Anka’s “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” and attempted to take the football stadium back to the 1950s. This year the executive board has, once again, decided to reduce, reuse, and recycle the same formula as years prior. They chose “Fly Me To The Moon” by Frank Sinatra to be the theme. Now on paper, this seems great. A classic song that’s lovely to dance to, what’s the issue? Well, the title features the word moon, which of course triggered the minds of the board to go with a space theme. You know, one of the most cliche choices in all of Homecoming history. I’ve heard rumors about the potential decorations the council will use to turn Truman into outer space, and if what I heard is true this may be the one exception to a space-themed dance. But if it turns out anything like the most recent Courtwarming: Peace out Patriots.
The main issue I have with themes and decorations is that the decorations never live up to what the theme suggests. The executive board needs to get creative and stop cutting corners just because they know students will still attend the dance. There are hundreds of articles online filled with ideas for school dances, yet Truman always falls short. Luckily, the student body is filled with school spirit, so the board will never know how everyone truly feels. But I’m tired of seeing themes used over and over again. Especially when I go online and see another school that’s executed the same theme better. Yes, Truman has a small budget for decorations, $200, but there are still so many possibilities. At this point, it feels a little like laziness.
Music and royalty elections are the more opinion-based aspects of Homecoming. This year a form was sent out asking students for song recommendations for the dance playlist. It sounded like the board was finally going to consider student’s voices. That was until the news broke that instead of using YouTube to play the clean version of popular songs, Spotify would be the app of choice. The issue with this is that Spotify doesn’t carry the clean version of every song (unlike YouTube), therefore trashing a majority of the songs that were recommended. If the board and admin want students to have a better experience they need to follow through with their promises. Music determines the energy the dance gives off, and if we’re stuck with the same songs at all of them, it gets old. Plus, if the board is concerned about the tight budget they have for other things, why hire a DJ? It’s a job that teachers could volunteer for. All they do is sit behind a computer and press shuffle on the premade playlist. Finding a DJ is a waste of time, money, and effort for the board. If they want to improve the students’ experience, drop the DJ.
Homecoming elections have always been a popularity contest, so there’s not much I can criticize. I believe Truman does a great job organizing and announcing the winning candidates. The seniors are always given creative freedom, and everyone seems to have a great time even if they lose. Funny that the one thing the board has the least amount of input on is the thing that most people have a positive attitude about. Interesting.
Oh boy, shirt designs. Let’s be honest, very few high schools end up producing a picture that everyone is happy with, and I understand that. But when you send out a shirt that looks like it belongs in the little boy’s section of Target, and not on the front of a high school homecoming shirt, I have no sympathy.
Mind you the first time I saw the design was after I had already ordered one. I always buy shirts for school events because I want to have something to remember it by, but this was the first shirt I instantly wanted to return. I understand that the shirt design is not a major concern for the board because they know students will buy the shirt no matter what to participate in spirit days, or simply to remember the dance as I do. On the other hand, the shirt represents Truman’s homecoming for the year and is supposed to show off the theme in an exciting, creative way. This design does not do that. I believe taking inspiration from the cover art of Sinatra’s song would’ve been the best route. Using those colors to create a moon-focused design would’ve been more on theme. Also, the color gray is simply not flattering. A solid black to represent space, or a navy to show off Truman’s colors would have worked better.
Homecoming is supposed to be an introduction to high school for freshmen and a familiar feeling for the other classes. However, it’s seemed to be an afterthought for student council the last few years, and it doesn’t make sense as to why. Maybe it’s because they know students will still attend even if it’s bad, or maybe it’s due to the laziness of the board. Either way, it’s not acceptable, and if this continues the attendance rate will severely drop. I applaud the executive board for balancing classwork, extracurriculars, life outside school, and student council. However, if they want this school to be great like we all know it can be, they need to put in more effort.
Have a happy Homecoming Patriots!