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West Homecoming: Poor Timing, Poor Spirit

By Michael McKay, Sports Editor

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All across the United States, high schools participate in an annual, often week-long event known as homecoming. Homecoming is a time for alumni, students, staff, and the community to come together and be part of a celebration, boasting school pride and tradition through spirit days. Often times a big football game occurs on the Friday of homecoming week, and a formal school dance ends the celebration.

In a time that the school and students should be celebrating and cheering, West’s 2018 homecoming is planned at a time where very few of these fun and exciting traditions can be achieved. The first day of homecoming week is Monday, Oct. 8th, which is Indigenous People’s Day, formerly known as Columbus Day. This is a day we have off of school. Wednesday, Oct. 10th is the PSAT/SAT testing day for sophomores and juniors: again, a day in which students will not have regular class periods. Freshmen and seniors will not be in attendance. As if that’s not enough school missed, the seniors initially planned to have a senior ditch day on Tuesday, Oct. 9th (these plans were scrapped).

How could it be a true homecoming week if students won’t even be in school for over half the week? If plans for the senior ditch day didn’t fall through (thankfully, they did), then the seniors would have been in school for only one and a half days (due to the pep assembly on Friday, Oct. 12th). Homecoming is a time for students, staff, and the community to celebrate their school and boast their pride for all of it. This simply cannot be achieved when the students aren’t even there. Senior Lidia Fakhoury discussed the poor planning of our homecoming, along with more on why students might not attend.

“It was very inefficient with the planning and now with the seniors in their last year, it’s going to be the worst. This makes all the seniors not care about any event this year, starting off with homecoming being planned so badly. I wouldn’t be surprised if the seniors don’t even get excited about prom next semester,” Fakhoury said. “Also, what really makes mad is the fact that for any event, they ask for student recommendations to make it more fun for them, primarily the music aspect at homecoming. But then none of the recommendations even get considered, and they wonder why the students are angry about everything.”

The poor scheduling of our homecoming is not the only issue, however. I strongly believe that Niles West has lost a majority of its school spirit. I believe that our student body, especially the senior class, is giving little to no effort in showing school pride. This sharp decline in school spirit began after the Class of 2017 graduated.

“Literally just two years ago [the Class of 2017 being seniors then], our stands were packed, and the seniors filled up all the bleachers and dressed up according to the themes and even made posters. We don’t do those things anymore, let alone even fill the stands,” senior Nirvana Meseljevic said.

Once the Class of 2017 left, the school experienced a bitter decline in its spirit and pride. This was the initial loss in school. The Class of 2018 failed at maintaining tradition and having pride in themselves. Niles West alum from the Class of 2018 Sami Massih highlights the drop in spirit that he witnessed.

“A lot of people from my grade would […] make no attempt to do anything fun together. Everyone was sad at the football games and the team seemed to not care and lost hope. This resulted in all fans not coming anymore. Not even just football games, but basketball games, too,” Massih said.  “There was very little school spirit, like I tried to do the homecoming spirit days and dress up, but no one else did or even cared. It’s high school. It’s supposed to be fun. Every other high school has students that loved their experience. That’s what we wanted.”

This apathy was handed right over to our class: the Class of 2019. Everything that occurred to them is exactly what’s going on this year; however, I believe the Class of 2019 has even less spirit than our predecessors. Attendance at any West sporting event is incredibly low, perhaps its lowest ever. Students are not supporting their friends or their school in each other’s activities. Seniors Gaby Goldman and Meseljevic explain further.

“As an athlete, it’s frustrating to see who you consider your close friends and who is going to support you in your senior year [sporting events], then having them go to a game for five minutes, sit on their phone, and then leave because West isn’t winning like 40-0 as everyone wants them to. The people don’t understand all the work their friends put in and how much it hurts them when there’s no support,” Goldman said. “It’s a lack of school spirit and it’s very upsetting. Previously this year I went to the West football game at Buffalo Grove, and just looking at their student section, I was kind of embarrassed being from West. Not just Buffalo Grove, but every other school has an amazing student section, regardless of the team’s record. All these other schools’ spirits are amazing. How can we expect to have a great senior year when we’re not supporting each other and our friends in any type of school event? It’s heartbreaking.”

“Being on poms, when we go out to the field to perform, there is almost nobody in the stands. For us and for the players, it’s very sad. It doesn’t even make it fun anymore. It makes us feel like there’s no point in doing it anymore,” Meseljevic said.

Yes, it is still before homecoming week even began; however, this lack of school spirit and the loss of having a sense of togetherness could impact our homecoming deeply. Without students giving much care for something as fun, as special, and traditional as homecoming typically is, it could be ruined.

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