Written by Amanda Lee
When it comes to his homecoming spirit, band teacher Todd Summers is just as passionate as, if not more than, any student. Every year, Summers hosts a special contest for his freshman concert band class. He challenges them to outdress him in yellow for the first day of homecoming, knowing that freshmen often don’t know how spirited homecoming can get. “I say to them, ‘Who can wear more yellow? If you can wear more yellow than me, you win a pint of your choice flavor of ice cream,’” he said. “And that really gets them motivated.”
Summers has held this contest for fifteen years, and he says many students are surprised by his enthusiasm. “I have a pair of yellow pants and a yellow long-sleeved shirt and the yellow gloves that I just wear every year,” he said. He also creates special costumes related to that year’s color theme. “One year it was ‘[The] Wizard of Oz,’ and it was the yellow brick road, so I painted bricks on a yellow t-shirt,” Summers said. “One year, it was candy, and the yellow was Lemonheads, so I wore a Lemonhead t-shirt that was yellow.”
Despite Summers’ crazy outfit, he says a freshman always wins the challenge. “There’s always been at least one or two winners, and, at most, I think, there’s been four,” he said.
During the remaining four days, Summers supports the other grades by representing one of their themes every day, since he prefers their themes over the teachers’ and likes carrying on an old homecoming tradition. “The teachers [used to] get assigned or adopted by a class; like if I got adopted by the sophomores, I’ll be a sophomore the whole week,” he said. “That was way back in the day.”
As a proud Walking Dead fan, he was especially happy when he had the opportunity to dress up as the character Rick Grimes one year when juniors had ‘The Walking Dead’ as a theme; Summers says it was one of his favorite homecoming outfits.
Summers dresses up not only for his own pleasure, but also because he knows students appreciate his spirit. “Especially when I do the sophomore, junior, senior days, I know those kids— because they’ve been through homecoming already—they appreciate my support,” he said.
Summers says other teachers also share his enthusiasm and partake in dressing up. “I think there’s a pretty big chunk of the faculty that participates,” he said. “There are lots of teachers that I think really like the dress-up days and like supporting the classes.” He believes many teachers have a tub of homecoming outfits, like the one he has in his garage. “I think a lot of teachers… start to hoard stuff for homecoming and just reuse it every year,” he said.
Summers enjoyed his own high school homecomings, so he is happy to be able to be a part of the homecoming tradition now by dressing up. “I’ve always had a blast, my homecoming when I was in high school wasn’t quite like homecoming here, but I was always involved in Student Executive Council in high school and helped with the homecoming dances,” he said. “And [I’ve] always loved it. And at every school I’ve ever taught at, I’ve always tried to get involved somehow with homecoming.”