It was 1986: Black and gold balloons flew over the football field. Fireworks launched into the night sky. Homecoming princesses rolled into the halftime game in sports cars.
Homecoming traditions, which according to past Accolade issues began on Nov. 2, 1962, have constantly been changing throughout the years.
One difference includes the transportation of the princesses onto the football field during the halftime homecoming coronation ceremony. Up until 1971-1972, the princesses rode floats — built by juniors and seniors — from the field toward the stage.
For the 1971 crowning announcement, the ASB planned to introduce the senior girls in vehicles, but they didn’t arrive. But the following year, the court ended up riding toward the stage in Porsches and MGs, which at the time were the brand name for sports cars.
Then in the 1980s, the ASB added another feature to the halftime ritual: a horse-drawn carriage for the queen.
“I do remember horse drawn carriages were used on the track … when the homecoming queen left with her ‘court,’ “ said Kristina Stammen, Sunny Hills alumni Facebook page manager who graduated 1985. “They always used a horse drawn carriage for the ending ceremony. I remember that because the carriage was white and decorated.”
Halftime shows also traditionally included the announcement of the homecoming queen with varying halftime rituals.
“One year, a parachutist dropped onto the field at halftime to deliver the envelope to announce the queen,” ASB co-adviser Mike Paris said.
These practices intrigue more students and alum, especially with changes in who gets to be in the homecoming court. According to the Accolade’s article about the school’s first homecoming, students voted whether the selection of princesses would be based on the student body or just among varsity football players.
“The next thing to be considered was whether the royalty (at homecoming dance only) should consist of all seniors, (with the queen and the four princesses all seniors), or whether there should be a queen, a senior, and four attendants from each of the classes,” the unnamed author of the story wrote. “Votes showed that the student body was in favor of all senior royalty.”
This lasted for more than five decades until this school year, when the ASB opted to allow non-seniors to apply for and join the court.
ASB alumni don’t seem to have a problem with that break in tradition.
“I’m glad we have a new tradition like having homecoming princesses in all grades,” said geophysics and biology teacher Christopher Ghareebo, who was the senior class president in 2009. “It gives incentive for all the students of the school to participate in an exciting event like homecoming.”
Though the focus of these traditions has been on the students, 1997 graduate and head basketball coach Joseph Ok suggests that someone should organize reunions for alumni besides just having the previous year’s queen return to crown the new one.
“I would like to see special guests and alumni be recognized before the game, just as halftime is for honoring this year’s princesses and queen,” Ok said.