Miami High News

Homecoming 2018: The Tradition Continues

By Amanda Echevarria, News Editor

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In most places, homecoming is the annual one week tradition in which a school welcomes back its alumni to celebrate their school experiences. Here at Miami High, where homecoming lasts approximately 1 month, it is much more than that.

 

The Tradition

At Miami High the work to produce homecoming lasts 3 weeks and is followed by the fruits of students’ labor being shown during Homecoming Week, which consists of the dance, Spirit Week, the parade, and the football game.

As the oldest high school in Miami Dade County, we live for homecoming, as we are the only school to proudly host a Homecoming Parade. The Junior class is in charge of all homecoming events, and according to Junior class President Yariannis Velasquez, this year’s homecoming theme was Storytime with Dr. Whippy, a mash-up of children’s stories and Dr. Seuss.

 

For this year’s Homecoming Parade Whippy made his grand entrance atop a firetruck.

Homecoming Week Festivities

Homecoming Week kicked off with the annual homecoming dance on October 12th. According to Junior class secretary Amanda Suarez, the homecoming dance celebrates our school and showcases our school spirit. This year’s dance came together through the efforts of all class and SGA officers setting up the night before. It was hosted at the Miami Firefighter’s Benevolent Association.

As students danced the night away with friends, while snacking on finger food, most seniors anxiously awaited the announcement of the homecoming court: five girls and five boys voted on by the senior class as representations of the school’s spirit. This year’s court consisted of Princesses Ismara Corea, Johanna Lopez, Jocelyn Cejas, Shekinah Rachel, and Amanda Echevarria; and Princes Darius Wilson, Adonis Eusebio-Mejia, Lazaro Diaz, Jason Navarette, and Kirk Espinoza.

While everyone on the court showcases their school spirit each day, everyone ran for different reasons. Basketball Captain Adonis Eusebio-Mejia wanted to keep the legacy of royalty running in his family as his mother was Prom Queen her senior year. “I did it just to see how far I could get,” said Kirk Espinoza. “I did not expect to make it to court, but it was so much fun to be part of the tradition and lead the parade.”

While Spirit Week typically starts on a Monday, this year it began on Thursday, October 18, with Rainbow vs. Blackout day, followed by Friday the 19th Club Pride Day, Monday the 22nd Marvel vs. DC day, Tuesday the 23rd Disney vs. Universal day, Wednesday the 24th Gender Swap Day, and concluding on Friday, October 25th with Blue and Gold day.

While everyone was excited for the Spirit Week themes, the talk of Stingtown was Gender Swap day. Junior class advisor Ms. Armas said that they chose Gender Swap day as a replacement for Nationality day which was not a hit with the student body.

During Spirit Week each day was accompanied by a set of lunch time activities and a contest to decide who was following the spirit day theme best. This year’s lunchtime activities were musical chairs, the three-legged race, balloon pop race, and tug of war. “I think what stood out about this Spirit Week was the fact that we made sure that students were happy with the themes and activities. Also, the fact that Hollister came with a performer was cool,” said Junior class VP Melody Huete.

 

Bumps in the Road

Usually our annual Homecoming Parade passes through both parking lots to the front of the school, but not this year. Due to the recent installation of speed bumps in our school parking lots, Junior class advisor Ms. Armas had to come up with a new route. The original plan was to find a way to go over the speed bumps; the allowed budget was even increased to allow clubs to purchase bigger wheels for their floats. Despite this, there was no way to safely overcome the speedbumps so a different route that passed through 25th Avenue was created.

One of the greatest challenges the Junior class faced this year would have to be the fact that they were all new to this. For the past 10 years, former school Treasurer Mr. Jorge Portuondo was Junior class advisor, but this year the torch was passed to Ms. Armas.

Also, half of the junior class officers were new, so they had to quickly get accustomed to the fast pace of being an officer. Junior class Treasurer Victoria Hernandez said they were able to overcome all these challenges through persevering and asking for help from other officers.

While this year’s Homecoming Parade was a success, there are still changes to be made for the future. As Junior class secretary Amanda Suarez said, “This was the trial and error phase. Next year will only be better.”

As for whether or not homecoming will ever pass through the front of the school again, no one really knows. The only way the parade would be able to pass through the front of the school would be if the speed bumps were removed, which is not happening anytime soon, according to assistant principal Mr. Zabala.

Honoria’s theme was Jack and the Beanstalk meets “Oh the things you can think”.

 

The Parade

   The Homecoming Parade takes place during 1st block on the last day of homecoming, but preparation begins weeks before. It all starts when the clubs attend the annual President’s meeting where they choose their homecoming theme. The club names are drawn at random from a box, and the club chooses their theme.

After the clubs chose their storybook theme, their Dr. Seuss theme was chosen at random. After this initial meeting the clubs had about 3 weeks to finish their floats and banners.

The floats are made by the club members, but they can have help from alumni when it comes to working with hazardous equipment. The floats are made from wood and must follow distinct guidelines set forth by the Junior Board. Each club’s president is in charge of the float or banner. According to Honoria President Alberto Rivas, “The greatest challenge with building the floats would be being creative while staying in the allotted budget.”

Homecoming is meant to welcome back alumni and showcase our school pride which is why alumni are welcomed back with open arms especially when they wish to lend a helping hand. “Our dance was choreographed by an alumnus and a current member,” said Honoria 2nd VP Belmar Hernandez. Mu Alpha Theta 2nd VP Jasmine Hill said that The Alliance’s homecoming dance was choreographed by the members. According to club treasurer Briana Arroliga, BETA’s dance was choreographed by officers Darius Wilson, Paola Guanche, and Brianna Vargas.

Most students participating in the Homecoming Parade do not sleep the night before as they are doing last minute dance practices or making the finishing touches on their floats. According to BETA 1st VP Thalia Hechevarria, “Our float left where it was being kept at around 2 a.m. to get here by 3:30 a.m. the latest.” After the arrival of the floats, club members make their way to their advisors’ rooms to get ready.

This year’s Homecoming Parade featured nine floats and over 30 clubs participating. Students had a variety of clubs that they could walk with. Senior class VP Angela Perez said that the Homecoming Parade was very hectic for her as she had to perform with Interact and walk with the Senior class board, but she was “proud to represent the two organizations that mean a lot to me.”

 

BETA Knights jump for joy upon hearing that they have won 1st place overall for the seventh year in a row!

The Game

As the crowd roared the football soared. As students cheered, the band was all you could hear. This year’s homecoming game against Coral Park took place on Thursday October 25th at Tropical Park. Students were given the opportunity to ride the fan bus to and from the game as long as they paid for their tickets beforehand. Everyone from alumni, to students, to proud parents were at the game as it was also the Senior Game for the football team. As halftime got closer, club members grew anxious as they awaited the results for the parade and homecoming king and queen.

During halftime, after a performance from our very own Million Dollar Band, it was time for homecoming court to make their entrance. As the 2017 Homecoming King and Queen ran across the field, it was announced that our 2018 Homecoming Royalty was King Adonis Eusebio-Mejia and Queen Shekinah Rachel. As the rest of the court walked off the field, our Homecoming King and Queen stayed to embrace the moment. Soon after homecoming results were announced; in 1st place was BETA followed by Honoria in 2nd place and FEA in 3rd. (See sidebar for more detailed results). The game’s final score was 34-7 with Miami High taking the win.

 

Looking back it can be agreed that Homecoming 2018 was truly unforgettable.

Looking Back

   For seniors, this was their last homecoming as students; next year they can only participate as alumni. Senior Class Treasurer William Ramos said that this homecoming was his favorite as it was the first year that he actually participated and, as a class officer, “helped to make the homecoming magic happen”. While he was extremely happy with this homecoming, he, along with many other students, hated the new route and hopes it changes in the future.

For over 400 Baby Stings this was their very first homecoming and one to remember. For freshman Dominic Puentes, participating in the Homecoming Parade was the highlight of his freshman year. “Since my mom is an alumna and my older siblings attended Miami High, I’ve always watched the parade and dreamed of walking in it one day,” he said.

While Homecoming is just 1 week, it takes weeks’ worth of preparation and hard work to make it happen. For most students, such as SGA Recording Secretary Sasha Delgado, homecoming is one of the most stressful times of the year. “Homecoming was fun and exciting when I had my breaks and was able to enjoy it,” she said.

Many people can agree that, compared to this year, last year was a slow one for student activities. Sophomore class advisor Mrs. Gutierrez-Carasco stated, “This was one of the best homecomings yet because of the participation and creativity present in the parade. Ms. Armas and her officers did an amazing job.”

While this homecoming was great, there is always room for improvement. Miami High alumna and our very own Activities Director Ms. Rivero said, “I hope that next year more students appreciate homecoming, and I also hope to see more clubs building floats.”

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