West Ranch celebrates Homecoming 2021

Jaeeun Park and Minjun Kim

   Brunch activities kicked off the celebrations of Homecoming Week at West Ranch this year. A rally was held on Friday at the amphitheatre, which was packed with students attending their first major spirit event this year. 

   The MCs joined Mr. Crawford to hype up the crowd before the performances began. There was an invigorating repertoire played by drummers, followed by a performance from the dance team, a rendition of the national anthem, and an attempt at a dunking booth, carried out by the football team’s quarterbacks.

   The theme of this year’s event was “Wildcats Worldwide 2021”, to commemorate the date on which the dance would take place. 

   “Because our Homecoming was on 9/11, at the football game last night, we had a moment of silence and we had a sheriff’s helicopter fly over, we honored the first responders, and so we kind of just grew from there,” explained ASB advisor Mrs. Priske, “I think my ASB class right now is really, really passionate about making sure that we are celebrating all cultures. So that was really important to them.”

   There was an estimated attendance of about 1,200 students, with some who came from nearby schools as guests. Regardless of their school affiliation, students mingled and made new friends. 

   West Ranch Senior Xander Hepburn remarked that he enjoyed “chatting with all these lovely people. All these people who voted for me to be Homecoming King, I love being here.”

   Many students shared the same reason for attending the night’s events. 

   “I decided to go to Homecoming because it’s my senior year, and especially because we didn’t have one last year, I feel like I kind of needed to go to this one just to experience it one last time,” West Ranch Senior Jake Sullivan expressed.

   At the entrance of the event, students first lined up to complete their CrisisGo checks, a new addition to West Ranch events, due to COVID-19 protocol. Then, they headed to tables organized by alphabetical order of students’ last names to receive their red wristband for entry. After a quick security scan, students entered the gates, decorated with a papier-mache Chinese dragon and Japanese-inspired parasols. Students were greeted by a red carpet framed by miniature cherry blossom trees. 

   The basketball courts were transformed from their usual set-up to a beautifully decorated venue with small models of famous landmarks: the Statue of Liberty (USA), Cristo Redentor (Brazil), the Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italy) and the Eiffel Tower (France).

   “I thought the decorations were pretty good, it definitely looks like a lot of effort went into detail to match the theme,” mused Jaena Danaram, West Ranch Junior.

   A multitude of food and entertainment trucks were reserved for the occasion. Philly Jay’s Steaks, Flamin Ray’s Chicken, Tacos El Bigotudo and a video game truck called Game Thrilla were situated around the perimeter of the courts to sell their goods. 

   When asked about the catering services, Mrs. Priske answered, “We have an event company that we work with, so a lot of this is from there, but the food trucks, that was something that I had to figure out; I found a food truck vendor and he sent out an email blast to all these food trucks and basically said “We have an event, there’s 1,200 kids, you want it?” and so we got three [trucks]. And they are pretty busy.” 

   Aside from the vendors, there was a DJ stand, a swing ride, pool tables, air hockey tables and photo booths for attendees to enjoy.

   Closest to the music was a large dance area set up with flashing disco lights, where most students spent their time chatting and dancing. 

   Others chose to settle in groups of ottomans, arranged farther from the center attraction for an environment more suited for conversation. They were illuminated by rows of string lights for aesthetic pleasure.

   The sitting spaces were filled with groups of friends, which seemed to be the main focus of people’s experience. 

   Senior attendee Noah Neri liked “just being able to hang out will all [his] friends.”

   Similarly, Sullivan enjoyed “seeing how many people came and how many people are getting along and having fun.” 

   Around the end of the event, Mr. Crawford and Mrs. Priske announced what everyone had been looking forward to— the coronation of Homecoming King and Queen. Members of the senior court were called up in pairs before the winning pair was named. 

   Will Bennett was crowned Homecoming King, alongside Cassidy Clarke, who was crowned Homecoming Queen at the football game the night before. 

   “I’m so happy, this is like, the highlight of my senior year. I’m so happy right now, I can’t believe it,” Clarke celebrated.

   This year’s homecoming was an unforgettable experience.