Homecoming, for the Class of 2021 this year, has been a great change from the last; now that the class has worked together for three years, they were able to learn from their past experiences, start preparations early on, encourage more of the class to participate, and win second compared to fourth last year. Preparations began as early as the end of the 2018-19 school year, with students in the leadership class taking part in a “Gym Jam” to determine the overarching theme for Homecoming this year. During this time, leadership students shared ideas for potential themes, then narrowed them down for each class. They decided on children’s cartoon shows as the overarching theme, and the show “Phineas and Ferb” for the juniors.
According to junior and actor, dancer and choreographer Henry Zhai, those participating in the Homecoming skit and dances were motivated to perform better than they had in past years. They held three-to-four-hour-long weekend and lunch practices in the weeks preceding Homecoming week. Zhai explains how being juniors enabled them to perform better because of the experience they gained from working together in the last two years.
“We kind of have an expectation to live up to now [that we are upperclassmen], so it really helps just to spend some time with the people in our class more,” Zhai said. “We’ve grown as [students] at MVHS because now we’re juniors, but also as a class, because now we know each other more, we know our abilities and our strengths and how to work together cohesively.”
English teacher and class adviser Randy Holaday agrees, observing how the juniors’ involvement and approach to the Homecoming skit has improved compared to previous years.
“One of our frustrations has been if we’re taking the time out to come to practices, they’re sitting around,” Holaday said. “It’s frustrating for us, [but] that has been a non-issue [this year]. And I think you can just tell that [this year] their dances are way polished … This year they’ve stepped it up so much. I think the maturity that comes with going from freshman to sophomore to junior, senior, they have made that jump so well. We were worried about them this year because they lost last year, and we felt it could’ve been avoided a little bit, but this year they just completely solved the problem.”
English teacher and class adviser Jessica Kaufman adds on that improved communication between the junior class and with the class advisors also helped them improve and work more effectively as a team.
Participants in the skit, such as junior, actor and dancer Elene Pilpani, believes that preparing for Homecoming has brought the class closer together and provided unique opportunities to meet new people.
“I feel like [Homecoming is] supposed to be [for] school bonding and [is supposed to] rally up school spirit... and since it is the beginning of the year you get to make a lot of new friends,” Pilpani said. “Especially as freshmen, that’s really helpful. ... And also, it’s just a lot of fun. It’s stress-relieving in a way because you have a lot of work but it gets you hyped up for something in October, which is also stressful because we have [the] SAT, [the] PSAT; we have everything happening and Homecoming is a nice, chill stress reliever during this month.”
Kaufman and Holaday both expressed how with an increase in commitment and spirit for Homecoming this year, the Class of 2021 will positively benefit for the rest of the school year. Kaufman has observed an improvement in the dynamic of the class officer team; Holaday believes the juniors will continue to improve for their senior year.
“I think last year they didn’t do well and the comments from other classes that we had [were] like, ‘Oh the sophomores don’t have their stuff together,’ and this year, that has shifted, where seniors are saying that they’re worried about the juniors,” Holaday said. “So I think just from that it’s like a really good morale and kind of helps them for next year.”