Traditions Adapt

The crowning of Seniors Hannah Faiq and Solomon Washington
Seniors Lucy Kulzick and Alysen Sherburne
The homecoming game
The mid-game Tiger Dancer Performance
The crowning of Seniors Hannah Faiq and Solomon Washington

       The rhythmic drum beats at Spirit Circle, the thrill of dressing up differently for each themed day, and the energy that fills the gym during the pep rally, were all missing this year. The majority of students are still using online learning rather than attending class on campus. As a result, the usual Tiger Spirit was muted throughout homecoming week. The highlight was when students came together and showed their Tiger Spirit watching the homecoming game at the Kelly Reeves Stadium.

       “I feel like people have given up on the school,” senior Lucy Kulzick said. “So they don’t really feel like showing spirit. I was really disappointed because homecoming was my favorite week out of the school year.”

        There was a lack of participation in the traditional dress-up days. Only teachers and some on-campus students went out of their way to plan outfits for their zoom calls, in which most students choose to keep their cameras off.

        “I think part of it is because there are a few people who are really into it and the rest of us just follow them,” senior Alyson Fields said. “This year, it may have dampened the motivation because no one will see you in person.” 

          However, the students who did dress up went all-out. A few on-campus students such as senior Alysen Sherburne did not let Covid-19 ruin her final homecoming week.

         “I woke up at 6 A.M. every day so I could dress up. I spent till 1 a.m. painting my overalls for the homecoming Friday and the game,” Sherburne said. “I wanted to be a poster cover magazine of a Stony Point senior vibe.”

          Many traditions such as senior togas on Throwback Thursday and pep rallies were neglected this year as well. There was, however, an online pep rally that didn’t have a large turnout. Senior Alexis Garcia was looking forward to the pep rally and her cheer squad’s part in it.

          “Honestly, I felt like homecoming became the bare minimum,” Garcia said. “It goes back to depressing, there was a virtual pep rally with clips from last year and no one except the cheer squad showed up.”

           One tradition that stayed firm throughout the week was the mum making process. While many students couldn’t show them off in person on Fired-Up Friday, they took to social media to post their Tiger Spirit.

        “I made it to be the white and gold theme and the craft store was still almost out of Homecoming supplies like usual. I enjoyed it, but couldn’t make mums with my friends,” Kulzick said.“I did get to make it with my mom, which was a good bonding experience.”

        The homecoming game against Hutto capped off the week with a bigger than expected turnout. Although the team lost, other aspects still made the experience enjoyable for students and parents.

       “It felt normal,” Sherburne said. “It wasn’t as full as last year, but I was in awe of the students, band, cheerleaders, and Tiger Dancers who showed up.” 

       Very few things were altered for the game. Most of the band and cheerleaders showed up to entertain the crowd and the Tiger Dancers still had their traditional mid-game performance. 

       “I took the game for granted and appreciate it much more now,” senior homecoming candidate Meryl Mizell said. “I feel like this homecoming, even though it was socially different, it was really special because we got to see each other and celebrate our homecoming court and team.”

      Normal COVID19 restrictions were put into effects such as required masks and socially distanced stands. However, the Blue Crew student section was packed, which later caused the administration to put out a public warning to prevent it from occurring at future games. 

       “That was how it was the first and second game as well,” Garcia said.“I definitely think the AP’s should have handled that better and forced the Blue Crew to wear a mask or leave.”

       The biggest anticipation of the game was the crowning of the homecoming king and queen. Three pairs of seniors competed: Grace Irish and Jabori Adkins, Meryl Mizell and Kannan Huynh, and Hannah Faiq and Solomon Washington. 

      “I was very honored to see my name on the ballot,” Faiq said. “It made me very nervous because I did not know what the results would be. Solomon and I have been friends since freshman year, so I thought he was a very good fit because he is very smart and a runner on the track team.”

       The candidates spent their homecoming week campaigning through social media and picking out outfits for the big day. In the end, Hannah Faiq and Solomon Washington were crowned king and queen. There was booming applause in the student section as they were given the traditional royalty wardrobe and bouquet.

      “Walking out on the field was amazing. Once Hannah was announced as the homecoming queen, I felt super nervous. I was really happy when I won,” Washington said. “However, I do not think that it really changed anything for me. I was just running for the experience. If I won, I won, but if I lost, I lost. No matter what, I was going to be happy that I got the chance to be a part of the homecoming court.”

      By the end of the game, the Tigers had lost by 9-29, but the crowd didn’t really show their disappointment. Students were too busy catching up with their peers after a long period of isolation during online learning. The cheerful attitude of the entire event made up for the lack-luster week and was a fitting conclusion to the homecoming tradition.

     “Just because we are living in an environment that makes traditions seem obsolete, that doesn’t mean they will die,” Sherburne said.  “This is not a reason to give up or stop enjoying the things we love. It means we can adapt to still enjoy those things in a new way. Don’t just survive this school year, live it.”