Homecoming 2021: A Tradition Renewed

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After eighteen months of public health restrictions preventing almost all large-scale social events, Cascade High School’s (CHS) Homecoming Week was back this year with festivities that began on Sunday, Sept. 26 and ran through Saturday evening, Oct. 2. 

Homecoming week is traditionally held at the beginning of the school year as a means of bringing together the student body and, just as much, as a means of welcoming students back to campus and to the Cascade Kodiak community. “Second only to the first day of school this year when we welcomed one and all back to campus for the first time, Homecoming Week has been the most exciting time for me,” said CHS Principal Elia Ala'ilima-Daley. That sentiment was reflected by Rudy Joya, Assistant Principal and Associated Student Body Advisor: “I love our students and I’ve really enjoyed being around them this year with all the excitement surrounding the return to activities, like sports and clubs. This week, in particular, has been so much fun for me watching these kids get back to it and having fun together in school spirit. It’s a renewal and it’s healthy.” 

 The release of pent-up enthusiasm for this year's Homecoming Week was not surprising, given that the 2020 Homecoming Week, together with myriad of other social and sporting events over the last year-and-a-half, were scrapped. Daley reported what he believed to be “record participation” in this year’s activities. Indicative of Principal Daley’s observation was CHS Junior Tillie Leroy who commented that she was “thrilled to have Homecoming Week back” and was “looking forward to getting to know some of the underclassmen at the events this week since I really haven’t been in school with them.” Freshman Napiqua Gibbs echoed that feeling saying that she was “excited to have group actives return, especially Homecoming Week.” 

The senior ASB leadership team engaged diligently for weeks in the planning work for Homecoming. Then, on the Sunday prior, they gathered all the ASB troops, and quite a few other student volunteers, in the CHS Commons to kick off the week by decorating the school’s entrance doors. Senior Class ASB Advisor and mathematics teacher, Bill Davies, in addition to being happy to see the kids working away together in school on a Sunday, remarked that he was “truly impressed by the hard work and enthusiasm this year’s senior class is bringing to homecoming.” Sophomore and Freshman Class ASB Advisors, and Language Arts teachers, Roselyn Robison and Lea Boggs, respectively, agreed with Davies. Robison commented that “this group is self-motivated and amazingly self-sufficient.” Boggs, in her first year at CHS after a long stint at Icicle River Middle School, commented that homecoming prep has been “way more fun than I thought” and that it was “so nice to see the freshman,” whom she knew as eighth graders, “really getting into it!” 

Monday saw the beginning of daily homecoming themes, sports events and activities (e.g., pajama day, fall sports against rival Cashmere and upperclassmen coed games). The school week culminated on Friday with “Kodiak Krazy,” for which everyone in the CHS community was encouraged to wear school spirit attire. That day also held an assembly featuring class skits, cheers and the coronation of homecoming “royalty.” That night, at one of the most exciting football games played on CHS’s home field (an unfortunate 55-54 loss), fans were encouraged to “white out” the stands by dressing in their white Kodiak regalia. Of note was that with the return of homecoming football was the accompanying fireworks at the Peshastin field. Homecoming Week itself then came to a celebratory end on Saturday with the cross-country team’s Ski Hill Invite, at which more schools traveled to take on CHS than at any other sport or event during the year, and the central event around which homecoming was built, the homecoming dance. 

The dance this year had some novelty to it due to health district protocols. It was held outside in the school’s courtyard and required masks. However, aside from that, it went on as it has traditionally. The Homecoming King and Queen were Chase Runions and Madi Gillespie. Gillespie noted that she was “super excited to be homecoming royalty” and Runions added that he felt it has been “a cool time for the school, as a whole, to come together.” Making up the Homecoming Court were the various class Princes and Princesses: seniors Jose Reyes and Rosario Fernandez Santiago; juniors Gavin Pulse and Emily Reyes Torres; sophomores Scott Linday and Lucy Thomas; freshmen Hunter Lang and Maisy Groff. 

Appreciation for renewed traditions, seeing each other through refreshed lenses and celebrating community anew seemed to be the unspoken themes underlying and supporting the expressed themes this year. As palpable excitement built up during this highly anticipated and special week, Principal Daley sent out “kudos to ASB members and the senior class” for “helping to get everyone excited to be back on campus together.” 


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