The COVID-19 pandemic has postponed – or cancelled – many school events, but Carrollton High School leadership was bound and determined to ensure students would enjoy one of the oldest traditions in the school’s history – homecoming.
Homecoming Week festivities are slated to begin Monday with activities culminating Friday, Oct. 23, when the Trojans play region rival South Paulding in Grisham Stadium. After much planning concerning safety protocols, final details include traditional elements – homecoming dress-up days and charity collections during the week and on Friday, a pep rally in the morning, a parade early afternoon, and the game that evening featuring the crowning of the homecoming queen during halftime.
CHS Principal David Brooks noted homecoming is not just about the students – it’s about the community. An event dating back to the 1800s, it is the tradition of welcoming back former students to celebrate their school’s existence. This year, however, all reunions that traditionally happen during football season have been cancelled, including the Class of 1970, which planned to celebrate its golden anniversary on homecoming. Instead, next year, plans are to call the celebration “50 Plus One.” This decision punctuates Brooks’ point.
“It is amazing how much Carrollton High School has changed over the past 130 years, but at the same time, how much has stayed the same,” said Brooks. “That’s what is unique about homecoming traditions. Its cross-generational appeal is timeless.”
Brooks also noted the school system’s footprint is conducive to generating homecoming excitement at all grade levels, especially when it is time for the parade, which will begin at 1 p.m. on Friday.
“We are fortunate to have all of our schools on one contiguous campus, so homecoming is truly a districtwide experience, especially for the parade,” he said. “Ben Scott Boulevard will be lined on both sides of the road by thousands of students, teachers, community members and fans wearing black and gold spirit wear, making noise and celebrating the day,” he said. “The atmosphere will be electric.”
Because of COVID-19 concerns, modifications have been made to the event for safety. During the parade, students will be spread out by classes along the parade route and specific areas have been designated for community viewing to encourage social distancing. Students who are watching or are involved in the parade are required to wear masks and community spectators are strongly encouraged to do the same.
The pep rally, set for 10 a.m., usually open to all CHS students and special guests, will be restricted to seniors only but will be live streamed for other students and fans to watch. The link to the event will be published later next week. During the pep rally, the homecoming court, sweethearts and senior superlatives will be announced as well as a recognition of Trojan fall athletes.
During pregame will be the sweetheart presentation, followed by kickoff at 7:30 p.m. The homecoming court will be recognized, including the announcement of the 2020 CHS Homecoming Queen, during halftime, as well as the charitable giving results.
Born just over a decade ago as a spin on traditional homecoming festivities, the “Gold and Black Give Back” campaign partners each CHS class with grades in the three lower schools to collect specific donation items for charities. The class with the most donations in terms of dollar value wins the competition and bragging rights until the next year.
“One of our focuses as a district is to build character capacity among our students,” said Dr. Mark Albertus, superintendent of Carrollton City Schools. “This campaign is a great way to encourage servant leadership, starting with our tiniest Trojans. Our local nonprofits have indicated the pandemic has taken an extreme toll on our community and the donations are needed more than ever.”
Freshmen are partnering with seventh and eighth grades and are asked to collect shampoo and conditioner. Sophomores are partnering with fifth and sixth grades for dish and body soap. The CHS juniors, prekindergarten, third, and fourth grades are collecting toilet paper. The senior class is partnering with kindergarten, first and second grade to collect toothbrushes and toothpaste. The public is encouraged to contribute to this cause by dropping off items at any of the schools.
For the latest updates on 2020 homecoming, go to http://bit.ly/hocosafety2020