Step into the rainforest

Following spirit week, Homecoming closes with themed dance


Olivia Adams

During halftime, junior Jayy Emery twirls her flag into a cone.

Elizabeth Cetnar, Editor-In-Chief

The band marches, playing their instruments throughout the school. Seniors storm the hallways. Paint adorns the faces of sophomore, junior, and senior students. Parents, alumni, and students alike fill the parking lot of Swinehart Field to tailgate.

This all means that homecoming week has surely begun.
The tradition is a favorite time of year for students, staff, and the Utica community. Festivities began on Monday, Oct. 10 and concluded with Saturday, Oct. 14’s homecoming dance.

The student council, which puts on the homecoming events, decided on a rainforest theme for this year’s homecoming. This theme extended to dance decorations, class parade floats, as well as commemorative T-shirts.

“I’d rather just say it’s homecoming,” principal Tom Lietz said, “but everybody wants Harambe [a deceased gorilla and meme sensation] shirts.”

Almost all students attended the half-day on Thursday and participated in the competition assembly. Sophomores wore red, juniors wore blue, and seniors decked out in all-white apparel.

Friendly competition ensued between the classes, and even the teachers, in games like an egg toss, tug-of-war, and an obstacle course.

At the end of the day, the juniors prevailed, gaining the most wins from the competition. However, the seniors were pleased to be the most spirited, with the most students from the class wearing their color of white.

After the competition day, it was time for the much-anticipated weekend, which kicked off with Utica pride being spread throughout the downtown Utica area during the homecoming parade

The parade featured clubs and sports and prominent Utica groups, like theatre promoting their upcoming production of “Sleeping Beauty”, as well as teachers marching in support of the Utica Education Association.

Rainforest-themed floats representing the sophomore, junior, and senior classes also made their way down the parade route, which began in the downtown Utica area.

Following the parade, it was time for the homecoming game. Alumni, staff, and friends descended upon the football field in hopes of cheering the Chieftains on to victory.

“This is my first homecoming game,” junior Shane McLaughlin said. “I’m not here for the game. I’m here for the people [and] for my friends.”

Although the football team lost to Fraser High School with a final score of 32-10, spirits were still high to conclude the homecoming with a dance for students and their guests.

For the homecoming dance, the main gym was transformed into a glistening tropical rainforest, complete with twinkling vines, balloon clouds, and plenty of photo opportunities for students to transport themselves into a lush rainforest scene for an Instagram-worthy shot.

“The dance was incredible,” senior Ryan Carrier said. “The slow dancing was my favorite part.”
Being with friends was a highlight for many attendees. Older generations may remember the necessity of having a date to bring you to dances in the past, but this is no longer the case.

“The decorations were creative,” junior Sabrina Foskic said. “Hanging with friends was fun.”
The green vines may be taken down, and the competition day t-shirts hung up in a closet, but for many students, the homecoming memories are sure to last forever.