Homecoming returns to OPRF

This year, Student Council at OPRF took on an immense challenge: bring back the homecoming dance to OPRF students amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, local and state regulations prohibited OPRF to hold a homecoming dance and other in-person events. “After homecoming (was) cancelled last year, we definitely knew we had to make the dance over the top and unique this year,” said Student Council Vice President Josie Humbert.

Student Council began planning for the dance in the summer, unsure if the dance would be allowed.. “Everyone in Student Council really wanted homecoming. We were meeting with the executive board over the summer, trying to get things planned out,” said teacher Linsdey Cermak, a sponsor of the club. “What we had planned over the summer wasn’t necessarily what happened.”

When planning out the dance, Student Council depended on their members’ opinions to make homecoming a reflection of what the student body wanted. This fall, the club had around 80 students attend the meetings. “At meetings we listen to every member and collectively make decisions to take in the students’ needs,” said President Zen Phillpotts.

One element of the dance that constantly changed was its location. “Originally, we were told that we can only have 500 people for a dance indoors, so we decided to do it outside,” said Phillpotts. In the end, Student Council decided to hold two homecomings outdoors on the same night. Both dances held 1,000 students. 

However, the homecoming tickets sold out before some students could purchase them. “I feel bad for students that couldn’t come to the dance,” said Phillpotts. “But a lot of things were out of our control, and we didn’t have much time to prepare.

In addition to planning homecoming, Student Council was tasked with planning spirit week and parts of the spirit assembly. “We did spirit week to bring more school spirit and awareness to homecoming and just get people excited,” said Cermak. As part of spirit week, Student Council also coordinated a door-decorating challenge among advisory classes.

On the day of the dance, the “My Boom Tour,” who performs at concerts like homecoming, set up their stage at 9:00. The stage, lights, and music was similar to the ones of previous OPRF homecomings. “You realize, talking to sophomores, that they hadn’t been to a homecoming. Along with other juniors and seniors, there was a big group that hadn’t been able to go to one yet,” said Prendergast.

Overall, the two separate dances lived up to Student Council’s expectations. “With the location, decorations, and lights, I think the whole dance was like nothing OPRF has ever seen before and made for a memorable experience for all involved,” said Humbert.

After the dance, members at the next Student Council advocated for another dance similar to homecoming later in the school year. “I think students walked away from that dance going, we want more fun, we liked it,” said Prendergast. “Students want another dance, and that has been a big topic at Student Council.”