Every year at Orcas Island High School we are approached by that magical time of the year: Homecoming Week. The week brings school bonding, late-night rehearsals, Viking spirit and, of course, the homecoming dance. As a freshman, I wasn’t sure how to approach this but decided on an equal portion of excitement and stress.
Sunday began homecoming week with the hallway decoration. It was slightly intimidating to see how organized the upperclassmen were when it came to decorating their designated halls. As my class blew up balloon after balloon and haphazardly strung streamers from the ceiling, I started to see both our hallway and class coming together. I knew this feeling would be important for the week to come, especially with the lip-sync practices approaching.
Next came the spirit days: Anything But a Backpack Monday, Twin Tuesday, White Lie Wednesday, Barbie vs. Oppenheimer Thursday, and Spirit Day Friday. I had some experience with middle school spirit days, but I can never be too prepared? As a very self-conscious person, I started to worry about expressing myself, especially according to these themes as a new freshman, but as with the hallways, I realized that what makes spirit days fun is the fact that we are all doing it as a community.
With that being said, I tried my best to embrace it and coordinated Christmas sweaters, wore a pink bow, and made an interesting white lie t-shirt. Throughout the week, I had also been going to class practices for the lip-sync, a choreographed dance to a mix of songs, performed in the high school gym. This was definitely the most interesting part of the week for me, as well as one of the most time-demanding parts, considering the practices were later in the evening. It was an interesting experience, coordinating a dance to pop songs while the school clock says 7:30 p.m. I would say that during those practices my class learned a lot about leadership and organization, as well as some interesting dance moves. My doubts from the beginning were definitely proved wrong.
To end Friday’s crazy schedule, my class peeled mounds of tape off our wall and began decorating our class float, a tradition I had never heard about. While our truck consisting of Taylor Swift, balloon arch remnants, and other hallway decoration remnants made its way into the Village Green, our freshman prince and princess placed themselves on two wooden thrones.
Last, but not least, came the dance. Everyone knew it was coming and stirring up questions in the minds of new-coming freshmen. Homecoming week brought me many emotions, but the morning of the dance was a stressful and dire time that brought me to say “homecoming is supposed to be fun.” I know, a very bold and definitely exaggerated statement. Who will I go with? What do I wear? What even happens at homecoming? These were the thoughts that ran through my—and many other freshmen—minds. I was very happy to know that I was not alone with all of these questions and to find out that homecoming is not as mysterious as it sounds. My nerves were soon gone with the help of friends, who assured me when I looked up various Pinterest hairstyles and struggled to tie my Doc Marten heels.
Upon arrival at the dance, I saw many other freshmen as well as a corn hole game and a bonfire, both of which were new additions from past middle school dances. While I definitely do not consider myself a dancer, I was surprised to see that I was actually enjoying myself as various songs were played in the dim Art Room.
The week gave the freshman class an intense training in leadership, cooperation, teamwork, and overall togetherness, and a look into what takes place in the high school. As I reflect on the week now, I realize that homecoming week is not about making it perfect and amazing and enjoying every second of it, but instead about embracing school community, having fun, and knowing that you have people to help you work through the stressful moments yet to come. A group of Vikings in a storm of chaos/high school. Maybe homecoming will be different as a sophomore. We will see.