Students Feel Absence of Homecoming Tradition

Homecoming is full of fun activities. Spirit days, the football game, the dance. However, one of the most popular activities to ever take place during Homecoming week is the Thursday pep assembly.

The Homecoming assembly is one of the most spirit-filled activities that take place during the week. School spirit is what really makes Homecoming one of the best experiences in high school. In addition to students dressing up and the Friday night football game, the band is also highlighted when they march around the entire school and play the school fight song. 

The COVID pandemic had a huge impact when it came to planning for the 2021 Homecoming festivities. According to Alyssa Carl, a Math teacher at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School and one of the Homecoming planners, stated, “The more that we looked at the logistics of fitting 2,100 people in the gym and sorting everybody by class and having the activities, we realized with our [COVID] numbers in the county, it just really wasn’t an option to put everyone in the gym.” She went on to talk about how the safety of the students and staff is very important.

Another potential venue to host the Homecoming assembly was the football stadium. Many students questioned the reason why we didn’t have it on the football field. Carl responded by clarifying, “Those stands aren’t much bigger than the gym, so we still would be putting kids close together…” Carl also went on to say that the idea of having it on the football field was still a topic of discussion during the Homecoming planning meeting, but with the rising cases of COVID, it wasn’t really an ideal option.

Emotions were high when students found out that there wasn’t going to be an assembly this year. Some were mad, some were upset, some were okay with it, and some just didn’t care. 

A majority of the students were just frustrated, annoyed, disappointed and upset about it. According to Sydney Tambling, a senior at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School, “I was really upset. I feel like we (the seniors) deserved it. And I feel like there was no reason not to have it.” 

Many teachers also felt disappointed, sad, and even mad. Carl was also asked how she thought the student body felt about not having a homecoming assembly. She responded by saying, “I think that they feel like it’s a bummer. I think they’re like, ‘I can’t wait until Homecoming is full.’” She continued on to say that she noticed how many students bought tickets to the dance and participated in spirit days and inferred that overall, Homecoming was still a success with students enjoying their special week despite the assembly being cancelled.

Aside from the Homecoming assembly cancellation, there were a lot of other memorable moments. The seniors were able to participate in painting the rock, Senior Sunrise, the dance, the spirit days, etc. When asked what her favorite part of Homecoming was, Tambling said, “My favorite part was being able to be with all my friends in one place.” She then went on to talk about how much fun she had with all of her friends. It seems like the students cherished the time to get together more this year especially after the year of social distancing and remote learning.

No one really knows how long COVID is going to last. The Homecoming Committee has to plan for the future despite that. Will the assembly happen in the future if COVID is still a pressing matter? In response to the foreboding questions, Carl said, “Knowing now what we know, we could start planning this summer for what it would look like to have it outside and we could get some of those logistics in place.”

Since there might possibly be a Homecoming assembly in the future, the students of BBCHS might have an opportunity to experience a BBCHS Homecoming pep assembly.