Homecoming: Are we missing the point?

Homecoming: Are we missing the point?

Jason Ferris, Junior School News Editor

A time honored tradition, a week of costumes, colors and pride, students donned in spirit,

a football game, a dance: this is the definition by which we understand homecoming. But how

much do we really know about this annual event? Homecoming’s origins may be up for debate

but its original purpose is far different than the show of school spirit it is today. It looks as

though we, Raiders and high-schoolers alike, may be missing the point.

Homecoming is a fixture of any high school, a mark on calendars as important as

Christmas break and summer vacation, for some even more so. However, it was not always a

tapestry of homecoming courts and costumes galore. Its origins are far different from the

tradition we know. One problem: colleges have trouble agreeing where the tradition began, an

unsure birth date. Harvard and Yale argue they reared homecoming in the 1870s as a show for

returning alumni. The University of Missouri and most scholars argue it all started with a twenty

year rivalry stewing between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Missouri Tigers. In 1910, to ensure

the stands were stuffed full with onlookers, Missouri Director of Athletics Chester Brewer

invited alumni to “come home” for the inaugural big game. Whatever you believe, homecoming

has won a stake not only in the tradition of colleges but high schools like our own. Wherever it

started, its popularity has burst beyond measure.

Homecoming is about school pride: that much we have right. However, homecoming was

invented to welcome home alumni. Take a quick glance around, Raiders. Do you see any

alumni? I sure don’t. We seem to have abandoned the point of homecoming week, trading the

reverence for our alumni with a community booster. No one can deny homecoming’s importance

to Raider culture and school community, but when were alumni traded for homecoming courts

and bonfires? Not that it is for the worse, but we have deviated from the purpose of tradition.

Today, homecoming is what students make it. It is a chance to showcase their powers of

dress up and creative pride for their school. Student government plans the week, deciding what

theme is set for what day and how each grade level is represented. With this freedom, the school

is painted with Greeks, Australians, Mexicans, the Chinese; characters out of Star Wars; outfits

out of the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s; and a color scheme of red, black, green and orange.

Homecoming unleashes the creative license Leonardtown students need every year. It is the not

only a staple of the Raider community but an important dose of freedom from their hard working


Leonardtown and high schools across the nation may not be following the script set by

the colleges that reared the homecoming tradition, but we seem to have written homecoming a

new purpose, one where its origins and original purpose are not as important as what it means for

the Leonardtown community. The proof is all in the hordes of costumed students exercising their

pride this week. We may not be celebrating homecoming as it was intended, but Leonardtown

students prove that we are by no means missing the point.