Sept. 7, 2018
IT’S HOMECOMING TIME – The Shortridge Blue Devils (above) will take on the Heritage Christian Eagles during homecoming at 7 p.m. Friday, September 14. All four IPS high schools will host homecoming games and festivities in September. Below, cheerleaders from Arsenal Technical High School hype up the crowd during a recent game.
When members of Shortridge High School’s student government were planning homecoming activities for the 2018-19 school year, they wanted to make sure everyone felt welcomed.
They knew they had to consider the current student body, but also the legions of students transferring from the former Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities. Planning began last May.
On September 14, in addition to Shortridge’s homecoming game against Heritage Christian School, halftime will include a fashion show featuring wearable sculptures created by the school’s visual arts students and a dance performance by the Devilettes dance troupe.
There will also be tailgating and carnival games, the crowing of this year’s homecoming king and queen, and a ’70s dance to cap off the evening — but not before a full week of themed spirit days at school.
“There’s a very conscious effort to showcase our arts during this year’s homecoming, which, I think, just helps build that bridge between the former Broad Ripple and the new Visual and Performing Arts Department here, and it makes everyone feel included,” said Alene Smith, a world government teacher at Shortridge who also serves as the student government sponsor.
Shortridge isn’t alone. Arsenal Technical, Crispus Attucks and George Washington high schools have all worked to create a new family atmosphere for the current school year because of the implementation of the districtwide all-choice high schools — but especially during homecoming.
At Crispus Attucks, there is an extra focus on increasing school spirit and promoting community within the school this year.
“Since we have had the addition of new students, we want to foster an environment where every student is included in all of the activities hosted here at Crispus Attucks High School,” said Kristi Vandygriff, who teaches English 10 but also serves as the 10th-grade sponsor for student council. Members of the student council are responsible for homecoming activities at Attucks.
On September 14, Attucks will take on Manual High School at Northwest Middle School. The homecoming game will include the traditional halftime reveal of the king and queen. But the school has also added a new element.
Attucks football players will give their jerseys to a teacher of their choice. In return, those teachers will wear the jerseys to the homecoming game to show support for the team and their students.
“Homecoming week is a time when we really get to show our pride in being members of the Crispus Attucks community,” said Vandygriff. “It gives us the opportunity to remember the rich history of our school, as well as live in the moment of what is happening here today.”
IPS Interim District Athletic Director Darren Thomas is excited for this year’s homecoming festivities and games because of the unity he says the all-choice structure has already brought to high schools.
“I think this year is going to be very special particularly because of the new high school experience and all of the kids being able to choose where they would go and not being restricted by the (neighborhood) boundaries,” said Thomas. “I think it gives us a chance to really unite all of our IPS high school students and, with homecoming, it’s not just the current students, it also includes the alumni, particularly when you’re talking about coming to the games.”
Although the festivities surrounding homecoming seem to receive the most buzz, it really is all about the games. “Homecoming is really a showcase for our school athletes for their school communities,” said Thomas, who added that the football teams at all four IPS high schools are strong this year.
“They’ve all got great coaching staffs and we have a lot of new blood in the district and some familiar faces in terms of coaches,” said Thomas. “Our football teams are all larger than they were last year — every single one of them — they’re all stronger and more competitive than we’ve had in past years.”
So, the IPS community is in store for some exciting homecoming games!