Teen Spotlight: The importance of homecoming | AspenTimes.com

Teen Spotlight: The importance of homecoming

Gia Galindo Bartley
Special to the Snowmass Sun
Students gather at the homecoming bonfire last week.
Courtesy of Gia Galindo Bartley

High school and homecoming have gone hand in hand for over 100 years — and for good reason. 

Homecoming, a tradition started in the early 1900s to celebrate alumni and the first game of the season, was originally a college-only event. However, not long after the start of this annual custom, high schools joined in the fun. Today, almost every high school in the country celebrates homecoming every fall, and the effects of homecoming go far past the original purpose. 

While going to school and doing extracurriculars help to connect with new people, it’s simply not enough. Arguably, for ages 13-18, social interactions are the hardest, especially when paired with experiencing first relationships and figuring out who you are and what you want in the future. But, this isn’t necessarily a new matter; society has been discussing this topic for decades. Popular teen movies such as “The Breakfast Club,” “Heathers” and “The Edge of Seventeen” tackle these difficulties well. In short, having a sense of belonging is hard. 

While the exterior of homecoming is just a mindless week of fun to kick off the year, a closer look at what homecoming means proves that to be a misconception. Homecoming week is a time to feel like you belong. All school events throughout the week — such as field days and pep rallies — are the perfect excuse to meet and hang out with people out of your usual clique. 

Furthermore, there are countless memories made during homecoming. Whether you’re a fan of football and all-school events or a self-proclaimed school-spirit hater, if you go to an American high school, then you’re almost guaranteed to have a story to tell from the week. School dances, while not everyone’s idea of fun, give students the excuse to have a fun night all together out of school. This also gives students the opportunity to dress up and make lasting memories away from regular academics, which is crucial for the social development needed in the real world. Homecoming is an unspoken rite of passage into high school. Living in the United States has filled every kid with anticipation of high-school games, pep rallies and dances, in part thanks to the media. 

Aspen High School is no different when it comes to homecoming. Due to the small population in our mountain town, the student body is a close-knit community. Our homecoming traditions reflect how we bond through skiing and the natural beauty of Aspen.

This year, the homecoming game theme was “avalanche,” where students dressed up in all white and sported ski goggles — a theme quite unique to our ski town, considering how few schools in the nation have a skier as their mascot.

Another homecoming tradition at Aspen High School is the annual bonfire that takes place on the corner by Paradise Bakery, a beloved Aspen staple for decades now. Every year, students get together and watch a performance by the band and dance team while enjoying hot chocolate and baked goods as an out-of-school pep rally.

These classic Aspen traditions are what make homecoming memorable for students and alumni who come back every year to celebrate the fall tradition. 

Gia Galindo Bartley is a sophomore and a staff writer for the Skier Scribbler. This is her first year with the paper.


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