By Emily Money
Homecoming each year is always something to look forward to as the highlight of fall and the peak of football season. Students and staff join together for school-wide fun during spirit week, celebrating with the pep rally, theme days, the parade, and the football game, and close the week out with the big dance on Saturday each year. But have you ever wondered how the tradition of Homecoming got started? Who exactly is coming home?
The location of the very first Homecoming ever has been hotly debated, but most agree it was at the University of Missouri in 1911, to “welcome home” alumni. It was centered around the Homecoming football game and parade, and later became a model for colleges and high schools across the country. Later, high schools began to host a dance in addition to the football game.
Walled Lake Central’s first Homecoming was when the school opened in 1957. Many traditions have stayed the same since then, though. WLC alumna and current counseling secretary Cindy Nelson commented on many of the traditions that have remained since she graduated in 1975.
“There has always been a pep rally and spirit week, and the parade used to be on the football field, which was very cool. They used to drive trucks around the track as floats,” said Nelson. “During spirit week, we used to have dances in the parking lot during lunches, our spirit days included ‘Imagination Day’ where people would dress up in all kinds of crazy outfits.”
However, many aspects of Homecoming have changed throughout the years. “Everyone wore long, gross dresses, even to Homecoming. When I first started working here in 2000 they were still long, they switched to short dresses pretty recently,” stated Nelson. “It was very different back then. The school sold Homecoming mums that guys would buy for their girls, and sold ribbons that everyone would wear around before games.”
The main difference, though, was the overwhelming sense of school spirit and pride that was showcased throughout spirit week. Enthusiasm seems to have gone down gradually as time passed. “Pep rallies were a much bigger thing. I wish I knew why school spirit has gone down so much. Maybe they need to revamp Homecoming so that it’s totally different and everyone will get into it again,” added Nelson.
Central will continue to uphold its traditions throughout spirit week, hopefully with much more liveliness than has been noticed in the previous few years. Because many alumni will certainly be at the game, perhaps we can recall the famed history of Homecoming and reinvigorate our WLC pride.