By Craig Marx, Editor
In a clever spin on the classic tale of “The Wizard of Oz,” the Antigo High School 2016 Homecoming theme revolves around “There’s No Place Like Homecoming,” a concept that the committee decided on this past summer. The week is especially raucous, culminating in a bit-time matchup between the Red Robins and the Rhinelander Hodags in the Bell Game.
The week begins with the STUD Spike boys volleyball tournament on Sunday, Sept. 27 from 3 to 5:30 pm, an new event that teacher and homecoming coordinator Mike Werdeo said would prove to be a good time. Hall decorating will follow that evening.
Throughout the course of the week, the students of AHS will take on numerous crazy activities in the likeness of trying to return to Kansas from the Land of Oz. Monday features an animal dress-up day – appropriately titled “Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!” – while later in the week, kids will have a chance to dress in Oz-appropriate colors depending on their class – Tin Man silver for freshman, ruby slipper red for sophomores, Emerald City green for juniors, and Wicked Witch of the West black for the seniors.
Thursday night features powderpuff football at Schofield Stadium followed by a community pep assembly for the public to enjoy – including dance performances from male students while the girls take on each other on the gridiron. Werdeo says the high school is promoting the community assembly in particular because of its engaging public atmosphere.
The week ends with Spirit Day on Friday, or in the spirit of Dorothy’s farm folk named “There’s a Storm Coming!”. The king and queen, in addition to the rest of the homecoming court, will be announced at a student assembly at 2 pm in the Sheldon Fieldhouse. In addition to the motley court, all 2016 fall athletes will be recognized as well.
After the royal ceremonies, the homecoming parade will take off from St. John’s Catholic Church at 4 pm where the court, floats, and students will parade their way to West Elementary School. With kickoff set for 7 pm against the Rhinelander Hodags, Antigonians young and old will hope the infamous Gene Sheppard Bell Trophy does not require a different shade other than maroon.
The celebrations end with a homecoming dance for AHS students beginning at 8:30 and lasting until 11:30 pm. The first dance of such since Antigo witnessed the prom tragedy unfold outside the high school earlier this year, measures are being taken to ensure a fun, respectful, and overall safe cap to a great week.
“With the dance being held in the commons and not the fieldhouse like prom, it’s not as big of area for chaperones to have to look after,” Werdeo said. “Kids that leave will not be allowed to return. During the prom, we had kids crowded around the doors because it was so hot in the fieldhouse. That was one of the concerns that we need to monitor more. There will be a few more protocols to discuss that we will have in place.”
The homecoming celebration will be a chance for the whole community to come together and support AHS and its Red Robins, especially in a storied rivalry game against the Hodags. Take a broom, a hot air balloon, or simply walk to Schofield Stadium to support the school at the Thursday night assembly and cheer on the Antigo men for Friday’s game.
See our special homecoming section in our Sept. 26 issue for full schedules of the week’s activities.