Homecoming week came to a climactic conclusion on September 19, with an entire week’s worth of spirit and anticipation culminating at the Friday night football game, during which the Corona Panthers played La Sierra High School and the Homecoming King and Queen were crowned.
A tradition that is observed by many high schools throughout America, Corona High School kicked off the celebrations with it’s annual dance, promoted and carefully constructed by the Associated Student Body into a “Moonlight Masquerade”, based on the chosen theme of Mardi Gras.
“Being in ASB, we had a committee, so there was a specific dance committee that planned how everything was gonna work, and we came on Friday and Saturday and we helped set up the dance,” stated senior Amelia Zabala at the beginning of the dance. “I think the turnout is gonna be really good because it’s really early and I feel like there’s already a lot of people inside.”
Lasting from 7 PM to 11 PM on September 13th, the Homecoming Dance was declared by many students to be a spectacular success, though some did state that there seemed to be a problem with the air conditioner on the dance floor. According to senior Celine Doan, “[The dance] was good! The AC sucked, but other than that, I enjoyed it much more than prom.”
Underclassmen also revealed that they, too, enjoyed the dance. Sophomore Jasmine Garcia said that she attended homecoming “because I went last year and it was fun. You see people dressed differently than they ever would at school.”
Fellow sophomore Gabby Enriquez, who attended the dance with Garcia, also added, “It’s really cool seeing everyone, but I don’t like going really early because it’s like…”
“Nobody’s here!” Garcia interjected as Enriquez nodded in agreement. “They should make it earlier, like say it starts at five and then everyone will actually show up at seven.”
More students did eventually show up as the night wore on, and began dancing to the music chosen by ASB. Senior John Quinn Noreyko commented that he “enjoyed the dance. The music selection was in great taste for dancing, ranging in genres. The addictive quality of an outside area was also a great idea. Although,” he added. “This is only because of the fact that the dance floor was extremely hot.”
At approximately 10 PM, the Homecoming Court was announced, a list of nominees chosen from various seniors nominated by various clubs and sports who were then voted for by the student body prior to the dance. These students would then have the privilege of walking onto the field at halftime during the homecoming game the next week, and two of them would be crowned Homecoming King and Queen.
While being overall a tremendous success, the Homecoming Dance was also the subject of a curious incident involving an ASB promotional video that surfaced on September 11. The video featured two members of ASB imitating a homecoming proposal. When turned down by the girl of their choice (which included the following dialogue of “No way José.” “..my name is Juan!”), the two boys then decide to go to homecoming with their “squad”, followed by a promotional shot of a “Moonlight Masquerade” poster.
The video, which garnered almost 700 views in less than 24 hours before it was asked to be removed by the school administration, was seen by some as satire. Others, however, saw it as offensive and slightly racist.
When asked about his reasoning behind the video being taken down, Corona High Principal Dr. Danny Kim explained, “It didn’t represent, I think, Corona High School, it wasn’t really an ASB authorized video…I think it was well-intentioned in that ASB students individually were trying to come up with a way of really promoting the dance, but altogether I think there were better ways we could do it.”
However, students who had seen the video, such as sophomore Jasmine Garcia, had a different view. “I liked the video, you know, it was funny. I don’t see myself as a person who would probably be like that, so I don’t see why it would be offending anyone.” she said with a shrug, before going on to enjoy the rest of what many others described as an overall spectacular dance.
Later on in the week, any casual visitor to Corona High School on Thursday, September 18, would have witnessed a strange sight.
“Generation Day”, where students dressed up as a certain generation based on grade (freshmen as babies, sophomores as toddlers, juniors as adults and seniors as senior citizens) was just one of five school spirit days chosen by Corona’s Associated Student Body to help celebrate and raise school spirit for the homecoming game on Friday.
Students were encouraged to show up to school in their pajamas on Monday, while others sported handmade and bought tie-dye shirts for Tie-Dye Tuesday. Wednesday was then Mix Match Day, with students finally being encouraged to wear as much red on Friday to show support for the football team.
“I would say about 70% of our students are wearing red today, so that speaks volumes. But I think our goal is 100%, until we get 100% of our students to feel excited about being at Corona High School.” Dr. Kim stated Friday, looking around at the campus as students displayed their Panther pride. When asked what he thought made spirit week so successful, he replied, “I think it really starts with the leadership, so I give a lot of props to our ASB. I think they’re very conscientious. I know I’ve been in some of their meetings, they’re really thinking about, ‘how do we really make students, our classmates, get really connected with the school’?”
ASB certainly put in quite a bit of effort into this year’s spirit week, promoting it through posters, lunchtime demonstrations (featuring the Homecoming Court nominees, who also sported the various spirit day attire), and various social medias such as Twitter. Their efforts clearly paid off, as many students could be seen throughout the week showing off their school spirit.
When asked what he thought the best dress-up day was, Dr. Kim stated, “You know, I like the Tie-Dye Day, that’s kinda going retro, I haven’t seen tie-dye shirts in a long time. I was scrambling to find a tie-dye shirt, I couldn’t find one, so I looked like the only person without a tie-dye shirt on Tuesday. But I thought that was pretty neat to see.”
All the school spirit finally culminated Friday night, kicking off with the homecoming carnival that lasted from 5 to 7. Various campus clubs and sports set up booths and sold items such as donuts (Drama Club), soda (Community Service Club), chips, (MECHA), baked goods (water polo) and others. Other groups decided to take a more creative approach, setting up booths with activities for passerby to try, such as Key Club hosting a booth of free games such as a penny drop and throwing cards into a hat, and ASB hosting a free obstacle course by the pool.
Throughout the afternoon, students wandered from booth to booth, buying pizza (Relay for Life), root beer floats (Madrigals), and listening to the music being played through the loudspeakers. Members of various clubs could be seen dancing outside of their booth, or carrying signs through the carnival advertising their wares. ASB also advertised a face-painting booth, and many students could be seen walking around with their faces colorfully decorated in the school colors.
At 7 PM, the crowd shifted over towards the Panther Stadium, as the carnival was hastily cleaned up and the Corona football team prepared to play La Sierra in the traditional homecoming game.
“I’m not a predictor of final scores; I can only say that we are well prepared.” Dr. Kim had stated when asked his opinion of the game only a few hours prior that afternoon. “I talked with the coach, I’m talking with the players, they’re well prepared, so we’re just hoping for a good outcome, so. Victory is what we’re hoping for.”
By halftime, however, things did not look quite so good for the Panthers, as La Sierra led by one touchdown with a score of 21-26. As the players rushed off of the field, however, ASB ran onto it, carrying with them several props to be used in the Homecoming Halftime Show, during which the annual Homecoming King and Queen would be crowned.
With AP U.S. History teacher Paul Schroeder as ringmaster, assisted by senior Hannah Sullivan, the entire Panther stadium enjoyed performances by the school marching band, the girls’ dance team, and FPK (Funk Phresh Krew). Finally, the Homecoming Court was announced, and the nominees took their places on the field.
Once all the nominees had been announced, last year’s King and Queen, Jimmy Hernandez and Nicole Blanchette, stepped forward to crown the new King and Queen amid cheers from the crowd, as Schroeder told the nominees to look in the envelopes that they carried with them onto the field and that the “Mardi Gras King and Queen will have a gold necklace”.
All eyes were then on Malique Deshaun Berry and Jessica Dubowski, who pulled out their gold necklaces to roaring applause, screams, whistles, cheers, and hundreds of purple and gold streamers were shot into the air. As Blanchette and Hernandez crowned their successors Dubowski and Berry, respectively, students flocked down to the fence separating the stands from the field to congratulate the King and Queen.
“I don’t know if anyone saw my face, but I looked down and I had a good couple seconds trying to figure out in my head, ‘is this necklace like literally gold? This necklace is really gold!’ It was a really big moment of disbelief.” Berry stated once he had left the field, accepting congratulations and taking pictures with scores of well-wishers.”I feel on Cloud Nine right now, it feels honestly so amazing, so amazing.”
Dubowski, too, had an enormous smile on her face as she accepted congratulations. She admitted that she had been “nervous and excited” while opening her envelope, but her happiness was evident as she wore her crown like the Queen she is.
Dubowski and Berry were not the only winners that night, however. Once halftime had ended, the Corona Panthers took to the field once again, this time determined to defeat La Sierra and win the Homecoming Game.
It appeared to be a very close match – with 7 1/2 minutes to go in the third quarter, the Panthers had managed to pull ahead, bringing the score to 28-27. However, La Sierra still managed to score again, bringing the score to 35-35 with a minute and a half left in the quarter. It wasn’t until the final quarter that Corona got it’s chance. A touchdown by the Panthers finally brought the score up to 42; another touchdown secured Corona’s win at 49-35 in a play that made the crowd go wild.
The Red C erupted into a cacophony of screaming, cheering, waving signs, and overall enthusiasm. Several people had brought baby powder, which they happily pelted the crowd with, covering mostly everyone in the student section in white powder (also causing the football commentator to announce over the loudspeaker, “Baby powder? Really?“) .
As the final seconds counted down and Corona High celebrated its homecoming win, the stands erupted into a loud cheer one last time – everyone, from the freshmen to the football players to the teachers to the graduated students who were back home to visit their old high school, felt it. That undeniable school spirit, that Panther pride.
“It’s important to students, but not just to students, but our whole community.” Dr. Kim had explained that afternoon when asked why he thought homecoming was so important to people. “As you know, this school’s been around since 1896, right, so when we say a ‘tradition of excellence’, it really brings out tradition, it brings out people coming back to their home. I saw some staff members that graduated here, they brought their letterman’s jacket from the class of 1978, 1979.”
Homecoming, is, in essence, a celebration of school spirit. The entire week had been a celebration of what it means to be a Panther, and Corona High School did not disappoint at all.
“You have people that are excited, and we’re expecting people to come to this game that have graduated here throughout the years. There’s a sense of nostalgia, there’s a sense of tradition, there’s a sense of coming back home to root on the old team.” Dr. Kim stated, watching students decked out in the school colors walk past; red, gold, and white. “That’s the purpose of homecoming, for current students and alumni to celebrate Corona High School.”
Ko-Hi-Nur’s staff editor Nicholas Sanchez also contributed to this report.