Lake Highlands High School students voted senior Blythe Bader as this year’s Homecoming Queen, Marjorie Weaver as the junior princess and Nicole Debenport as the sophomore duchess.
And the Lake Highlands football team beat J.J. Pearce High School 44-14 for the Homecoming Game.
Although the Homecoming festivities have ended for students, the memories live on – particularly the ones of how the students found their dates for the dance.
“They find elaborate ways to ask each other to the Homecoming Dance,” says Karen Clardy, who heads special services at the high school.
Last year, there was one anonymous senior who carefully planned a traumatic event for the big moment, says Kay Morton, a school volunteer whose son is a friend of the student.
He sent the girl he wanted to ask to a convenience store with a friend of his to get a slurpee, and as the two of them slowly drove home through their neighborhood, the teen jumped in front of the car and the driver pretended he had actually hit him, Morton says.
The girl ran from the car, along with the driver, who pretended to be horrified, then the boy jumped up from the ground, ripped open his shirt, and there in writing across his chest was written boldly, “Will you go to Homecoming with me,” Morton says.
And wouldn’t you know it, she already had a date.
Lake Highlands senior David Bertrand took a less outlandish approach to pop the question.
“I cooked her pancakes and wrote with syrup “How about Homecoming,” says Bertrand, who was pleased to find that she didn’t yet have a date.
This year’s event, which was called “A Harley Homecoming,” ran smoothly, with the election of the queen on the 50-yard line, and the excitement of old time visitors building throughout the week among students.
There was the usual crowd outside the cafeteria, gently pushing and shoving to catch a glimpse of the exquisite mum display and to fill out a mum order form.
Then there were the Highlandettes, who performed in their classic uniforms for the alumni, with each uniform carefully starched, of course.
The Homecoming Game always attracts roughly 200 alumni, says Principal Ron Mathews.
And don’t think the football players don’t feel a little extra pressure because of Homecoming, which draws an expanded, zealous Lake Highlands crowd.
“Generally, it’s a week of more distractions for them,” says Mathews. “There is potentially more pressure to win in front of your alumni.”
The Homecoming Game and dance is still a big event in Lake Highlands, says Clardy, and “the kids get primed for it way in advance.”
“I don’t think it has changed as being a big or little deal in the past 30 years,” Mathews says.
The tactics for asking a date to the dance, though, are different every year, says Morton.
Her son’s Homecoming date this year was no exception.
She was squirted by a water-gun and handed a rose for her request to be David Morton’s date for the dance, David says hesitantly, but grinning widely.