From the first dance in 1958, the Homecoming dance has been a cherished tradition at Shawnee Mission East. The dance’s original purpose was to celebrate the start of the football season, and almost always took place the day after the first home football game. This changed in the late 80s, when the dance was moved to later in the fall. The new date of the dance was originally due to changes in the football schedule, but students embraced the change and it continues on to this day.
The Homecoming dance is always centered around a theme and upon arriving, students enter the cafeteria and are transferred in to a whole new environment. Until recently, the dance was held in the gymnasium, but administration agreed that the cafeteria environment was more fitting for the event, due to its more intimate setting.
A few weeks before the dance, seniors nominate fellow classmates for the Homecoming committee. The twelve boys and twelve girls that get nominated for king and queen make up the committee, and the entire student body then votes on who will represent them in the Homecoming court. The queen is traditionally announced at the football game the night before the dance, and the king is announced during the dance.
It is customary for boys to ask girls to Homecoming, and this “asking” is usually done in some creative way. From using a barbershop quartet to making a scavenger hunt, there have been hundreds of ways that girls have gotten asked.
The night of the dance, many groups of friends get together for pictures, followed by going out to dinner, before attending the dance. This ordeal is by no means necessary but throughout the years it has become the norm.
The Homecoming dance is one of the highlights of the school year, and attendance is always high. The fact that it has been going on since the creation of the school shows how its popularity is universal.
“I think that Homecoming is one of the highlights of the year because of the spirit that the students bring to the event, and the knowledge that they are continuing on a tradition that has been here for ages,” STUCO sponsor Hannah Pence said.