Written by Amanda Lee
At the homecoming assembly, the entire student body waited with bated breath for the announcement of this year’s homecoming themes, particularly each grade’s dress-up themes. But 4.2 miles away, at Palo Alto High School (Paly), no student needed to anticipate any video reveal. Paly’s Homecoming is structured very differently, as each grade adheres to a set dress-up schedule that remains the same from year to year. There is no overall theme for the week, but there are differently-themed days such as “salad dressing day” or “generations day.” If Gunn establishes a set dress-up theme schedule, students won’t have to frantically worry about which themes they will get; they will know in freshman year what their themes will be for the rest of their time at Gunn.
If students know themes in advance, older students or alumni can pass down special accessories to help their younger peers out when they have a tricky dress-up theme, like camouflage. It’s a win-win for both sides: students won’t need to spend money to buy outfits (and can save that money for homecoming dresses or tuxes) and alumni can get rid of old outfits without wasting them.
Homecoming is arguably the most anticipated event on campus, and is a quintessential event for American high schools in the rest of the country. Rituals like creating celebratory class floats, asking that special someone to the homecoming dance and cheering on the football team at the annual homecoming game contribute to this storied high school experience. Adding a set theme list to Gunn’s customs will strengthen our own homecoming lore, as each class can inherit symbolic themes that previous classes have been using for years.
Setting the dress-up themes in stone will not take away from the uniqueness of Gunn’s homecoming—it will only build on the motivation for dressing up. The Gunn community brings out its craziest outfits to show class spirit throughout homecoming week, and, by extension, school pride. Knowing what each theme is will be another part of that year’s homecoming to look forward to. Sophomores can not only anticipate showing the school what they are truly capable of, but also their fantastic superhero outfits. And waiting years for a certain theme is not necessarily a negative thing—it gives students ample time to prepare their costume and get them excited for that year’s Homecoming, so sophomores have a full year to find a wow-inducing superhero costume.
It might seem unfair that certain grades get highly desireable themes. Having a set dress-up theme schedule will eliminate theme jealousy between classes. Homecoming is already competitive enough—if we let dress-up themes divide us too, it may cause the festivities to lose their intended meaning. For example, when juniors got the coveted formal theme last year, some seniors were bitter, as they had been looking forward to showing off their business style for four years. But with a concrete schedule, if the freshmen want their chance at vampires, they will know that they will get their chance in junior year.
In a week full of intense competitions, airbands, float-stuffing and more, Homecoming can be pretty overwhelming. Creating a concrete dress-up theme schedule will ensure that no one will be disappointed by their themes and hold unnecessary grudges against
other classes. If Gunn establishes a traditional dress-up schedule, the spirit of Homecoming will bind past and present classes, as well as ensure equality for the classes to come.