Homecoming, a unique event that as history has it, got its start on college campuses as a fall celebration of the first football game of the season for which alumni would return to their alma mater. Although most early homecomings date back to the turn of the century, there’s some debate over which school actually began the tradition.
When it comes to Homecoming on Cherry Hill, there’s no debate – none what so ever – especially since the Rite of Fall began back in 1967 and has grown into the most celebrated student organized social event in Rhode Island.
Few high schools, if any, hold Homecoming each year – especially without interruption – like the storied treasure the Johnston High School Student Council is organizing for 2018 that actually began, weather permitting, last night with the annual Battle of the Classes. The date, if necessary, is Saturday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m.
“This event features the members of all four classes – from freshmen to seniors – participating in on-field athletic events in (Mayor Joseph M.) Polisena Stadium and their classmates cheering them on from the bleachers,” Greg Russo, the JHS’ popular Faculty Advisor, said, “It’s the kick-off of Spirit Week.”
So, to ensure a mighty memorial Homecoming for 2018, Student Council officers President Emily Raposo, Vice President Nicholas Petrillo, Corresponding Secretary Ana Petrella and Recording Secretary Caleb Lee have worked tirelessly as well as creatively for the week-long event.
And, as history has it, the Student Council is charged with coordinating any and all plans for JHS Homecoming that in recent years has been rated the most unique and best event of its kind held at any of Rhode Island high schools and is filled with as much color and pageantry as a college bowl game parade.
Homecoming is always a huge task on Cherry Hill, however. Russo, a science teacher at JHS, is confident the spirited student council will put on another super special event that will officially begin on Monday, Oct. 15 when Spirit Week makes its annual appearance replete with special theme days.
“Homecoming week is always special here at JHS,” Russo related. “I’m already getting excited about this year’s event. It’s special when the theme is announced and the four classes begin planning their floats.”
Those floats whose unique designs which will constructed around the Panthers mascot opponent – Mount Pleasant High School’s Kilties – will all be student made and kept secret until they appear on Saturday morning Oct. 20 for the annual town-wide Homecoming parade.
But before that, Spirit Week will begin Monday with five successive them days – Neon Day, Fan Day, Hawaiian day, Spotlight Day - and conclude on Friday, Oct. 19 with Blue-White Day and the annual Pep Rally at noon inside Edward L. DiSimone Gymnasium.
In keeping with tradition, the Homecoming floats will be constructed on Friday night, Oct. 19, an unveiled Saturday morning when four trucking companies send their vehicles to hookup the four floats and bring them to the JHS parking lot for the start of the annual parade.
Russo also announced that the Saturday Oct. 20 schedule will begin at 8:30 a.m. with judging of the floats, the parade that will step off at 10 a.m., annual Alumni Breakfast prepared and served by the Johnston Lions Club, football game at 1:30 with the crowning of the King and Queen at halftime and celebration concluding at 7:30 p.m. with the Homecoming Dance.