Francis Parker School
Homecoming Week is a beloved Parker tradition. The Francis Parker Associated Student Body is proud of having a major role in planning its festivities each year. Parker’s Homecoming is highly unique in the sense that it brings together the entire Parker community from K-12 across all three school divisions for an entire week under one theme and innumerable amounts of school spirit. ASB’s involvement in Homecoming Week begins with the selection of the theme that will be guiding the week’s festivities, and alongside the actual theme, we brainstorm a “fake theme” to keep the student body on the edge of their seats, waiting for the moment the theme is revealed. In the meantime, ASB works hard on planning all of the logistics for each day of Homecoming Week. This year, events included a student versus teacher basketball game, grade-level kickball competitions, a motivational speaker during Advisory time, a spirit rally, float building, themed free-dress days, the Homecoming fair and carnival, Homecoming royalty selection and crowning, the Homecoming football game, Cheer and Dance Team performances, and last but not least, the Homecoming Dance. This wide range of events not only pegs the school spirit meter (especially with regular appearances of our mascot, Lance!), but also ensures that the entire week is inclusive to all students who wish to celebrate Homecoming in different ways, whether it’s applying their artistic skills to their class float or showing off their basketball skills with fellow students against the teachers’ team. Parker’s Homecoming Week is a culmination of school spirit and community that holds a very special place in the hearts of all of our Lancers.
How did you transition from plan to production of your event?
ASB always makes sure to plan our events as completely as possible, especially the logistics and execution of the event. Because Homecoming Week was essentially a week-long ASB event, it required meticulous planning to make sure that everything would run smoothly. This planning started in June 2021, when at ASB Orientation, we as an ASB voted on the theme for Homecoming. Since ASB is a team, we rely on all of our members to contribute to the planning process of an event as big as Homecoming. The Director of Events helped to brainstorm ideas for how we can best portray the theme, and the Awareness Director ensured that we were remaining equitable and inclusive to all with our execution of the theme. Now that we had ideas, we were ready to begin transitioning from plan to production. Once we had the theme announcement video scripted and filmed, we focused our attention on the rest of Homecoming Week. In order to ensure we had the necessary campus facilities (such as speakers, microphones, rooms, and tables) reserved for ASB activities that week, our Communications Director reached out to the Maintenance Staff and Attendance Secretary to coordinate facilities logistics. Then, the Director of Spirit worked with the Director of Events and the rest of the ASB class to transition our theme announcement celebration ideas into reality. With the assistance of our ASB advisors, we purchased the necessary lawn games and decorations (including the giant playing card costumes for ASB members) that we would need for the theme announcement event. As the day approached, we created a spreadsheet outlining where each ASB member would be in order to help the event run smoothly; this made sure that we would be ready for the execution of our plan. ASB’s hard work in planning the theme reveal event was definitely worth it, as we received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the student body. Throughout the rest of the week, all of ASB put in a lot of effort to ensure our plans for float building and the advisory speaker went well. Because we are a team, the transition from plan to production of our Homecoming Week events involved every ASB member, and our work helped organize an incredibly fun and spirited Homecoming Week for the entire school.
What challenges did you have to overcome for this event?
One significant challenge during Homecoming Week that always puts ASB’s abilities to the test was general logistics and scheduling, especially during the Homecoming fair and parade. Because there are so many different activities happening at once—football, club booths, Cheer and Dance Team performances, royalty crowning, just to name a few—ASB members, many of whom are involved in other school activities, were in high demand and short supply to help the fair and parade run smoothly. We were needed in a variety of locations to help manage crowds, set up decorations, assist clubs in counting money, and help class parents sell items in class booths. To tackle these logistical issues while also ensuring that ASB members would still be able to enjoy Homecoming, we created a spreadsheet breaking down the night into time chunks based on location, each of which an ASB member could sign up for. This spreadsheet was coordinated the week before Homecoming so that all ASB members were aware of where they had to be at certain times throughout the night. Once our plan was in place, it was time to put it into production to overcome this challenge that puts every Parker ASB to the test each year. Because of our organizational skills, we were able to help out everywhere ASB was needed throughout Homecoming to make sure that the event ran as smoothly as possible. We utilized other technology like our ASB group chat to remind each other of upcoming shifts at certain locations, and referenced the spreadsheet throughout the night to stay on schedule and to get help where it was needed most. Because our ASB is relatively small, at around 20 members, we always are spread very thin at Homecoming, which is our school’s largest event by far. We also had not organized an event of this size since before the pandemic, so the logistics of Homecoming Week put our ASB’s skills to the test. Another commitment required of ASB during Homecoming Week is managing our school mascot, Lance; this involves an ASB member wearing the suit while another ASB member acts as the handler throughout the duration of the mascot’s appearance. The Lance commitment was just another responsibility taken on by ASB during Homecoming Week, but the amount of high fives and photo-ops with Lance were at an all-time high this year, increasing school spirit after almost two years of quarantine. Throughout all of Homecoming Week, ASB brushed away the dust, and we rose to the challenge armed with our spreadsheet and organizational skills to ensure that, regardless of logistical difficulties, we would still be able to provide a spirited, fun, community-building week for the entire Parker community, from kindergartners to alumni and everyone in between.