West Linn High School revamps homecoming activities
This year, Annie Kaiser, leadership adviser at West Linn High School, said her student leadership team has "taken what died a kind of quiet death" and revamped the Homecoming Carnival and tailgate, combining the two traditional events to form an all-ages carnival prior to the 2018 homecoming football game.
"It didn't have a purpose or meaning (anymore)," Kaiser said about the carnival and tailgate that slowly started lacking attendance over the last few years. "The whole purpose of the tailgater is to pre-function; have a fun gathering time and build up the spirit, energy and pace of the big game."
During the week of Oct. 15, Lion spirit will be seen throughout the school in preparation for Homecoming, Friday, Oct. 19. To kick off the traditional homecoming events, students in each grade level will decorate a portion of the school using decor appropriate to their individual class theme Saturday, Oct. 13 — the overarching theme is "Disneyland" and each grade will have a theme that connects to Disneyland. Teachers will judge and the winning class will receive bragging rights.
From Oct. 15-19, students will participate in spirit week. Monday will be Pajama Day, which is followed by Tropical Tuesday, Western Wednesday, Theme Thursday and Spirit Friday.
Following spirit week, the public is invited to the homecoming carnival from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and then the football game at 7 p.m. where West Linn will take on Tigard. During halftime, the homecoming king and queen will also be coronated.
"We are both ranked in the Top 10, so it should be a big game. Both teams are doing very well," said WLHS Principal Greg Neuman. "For me personally, being the first year principal, it's a great opportunity to interact with the alumni. West Linn has a very long history of alumni support and community support so I'm looking forward to that opportunity to meet all the people who have walked the hallways for the last hundred years."
And by rebranding the carnival, Kaiser said she hopes to draw in more WLHS alumni.
"It's Homecoming and that's the whole point, right?" she said.
About four years ago, she said the school rented a large tent for a burger-tailgate targeted toward teachers and older students — students also had the homecoming dance outside after the game.
But because of the changing weather and "gale-force winds" four years ago, they had to move everything inside and switch over to food trucks for the tailgate.
Kaiser said because of the changes, the activities before the game were "less of a thing," meaning people stopped coming.
So last year, Leadership students started discussing creating an all-ages carnival this year, which would have booths run by WLHS students, and games and activities for students of all ages.
And instead of having full meals before the game, Kaiser said the school is bringing in carnival-style treats provided by food trucks So Cheesy, Churros Loco, Dutch Bros and potentially Voodoo Doughnuts.
There will also be live music by WLHS students — four bands and two solo acts.
"We have a great body of students interested in performance. ...We felt that we have so much great musical talent at this school and nothing gets people more excited than singing along with their friends," senior Haden Misra said.
"We are creating one single event that will get people excited to go out and enjoy the game (and) kick off a fun night."
Kaiser said she is excited to see how the rebranded carnival turns out.
"We've done a lot of work to make it organic," she said. "You can come in and spend the afternoon (and) evening at West Linn and never get bored."