The Revival of a New Possible THS Tradition: Homecoming

Grace Chung, Staff Writer

Every high school has its own traditions, and for Tenafly High School, homecoming was not one of them for several decades. But, following two years of minimal physical school activity, THS needed something to brighten the students’ school spirits. With lots of brainpower and manual labor, the Class of ’22 and ’23 made history by reviving Tenafly’s Homecoming last Saturday, November 13, 2021. 

We’ve seen it all play out in the best teen shows: Pretty Little Liars, Riverdale, Vampire Diaries. Homecoming is a staple to the generic high school experience. The gym, bedecked in fairy lights, along with a killer DJ set, created a fantastic atmosphere to hang out with friends “Under The Stars,” which was the theme for this year’s Homecoming Dance. Students were therefore very excited for their first homecoming and for the possibility that this would become a new tradition. “I was most excited to see the students come together for a big event because we haven’t had that since before the COVID era,” Lucy Harper, the senior class president (’22), said. It was refreshing to see hundreds of students gathered together enjoying a nice night of music, dancing, and picture-taking. Others had different reasons to be excited about Homecoming. Rayea Jain (’22) “was really excited for Homecoming” since it was the first time in a while that we’ve had a dance at our school that wasn’t prom. Although it definitely wasn’t prom, our students all saw the opportunity to dress to impress and they took it with a slam. 

The main component to this year’s Homecoming that really put the cherry on top was the beautiful outfits of the student body.  These lovely ladies matched with all glittery dresses while our amazing Steve Ackerman (’22) came rolling in his casual business wardrobe––both compliment worthy.

We also saw quite a number of matching group outfits. Here’s one of our favorites––a group of seniors who call themselves “Maroon 6.” You can see this friend group rocking the maroon style.

The unique part about this homecoming was that no dress shoes were allowed. The feet of students were saved as it was a “sneakers only” homecoming.

The dance itself was a massive step towards getting the school to feel “normal” again. And while the officers focused on making Homecoming more enjoyable, they also worked to make the event COVID-safe. “The officers and I tried to create the most fun, vibrant atmosphere we could despite the regulations,” said Daria Levy (‘23), junior class vice president. No food or snacks were provided during the school dance, though two to three tables were filled with water bottles for students to drink. Many of the gym doors were open, including doors leading outside, which allowed a nice breeze to flow into the gym for ventilation. And masks were required at all times. “Of course with the COVID restrictions we weren’t able to provide food, but thanks to the amazing decorations that so many people helped out with, it came together better than expected,” said Matthew Ngai (‘22), senior class secretary. “The DJ was awesome and got everyone psyched on the dance floor with the great song selections.” 

To the students, Homecoming was quite a success; however, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that often goes unappreciated. “Homecoming itself was pretty stressful and exhausting to plan because getting things approved from the start was difficult. There were restrictions on attendees, uncertainty regarding location, and complications with ticket sales, but ultimately I think that it was enjoyable,” Jacqueline Kim (’23), junior class president, said. With the joint efforts between the two grades, the students had a great time, which was one of the officers’ main concerns. “Finally having everything come together was really exciting, but also super nerve-wracking, because if the dance didn’t go well, we would probably disappoint a lot of students who had high expectations,” Kim said. Harper also said, “I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to students’ expectations, and I was worried that we were forgetting some things because it was the first time [in a long time that] anything like this was done at Tenafly High School.” However, at the end of the day, many students loved Homecoming and truly enjoyed the experience. “I definitely think that there can be many improvements to Homecoming in future years, but considering COVID regulations and short notice, I think it was great,” Sean Kim (’23), junior class treasurer, said. “Just being able to hold a school event where everyone could enjoy themselves and actually be in one place together just felt very special.” A round of applause to the eight junior and senior officers who made this night one to last forever in our camera rolls.