Oct. 16—DANVILLE — Danville High School students have been looking forward to celebrating next week's Homecoming for two years.
"We haven't had Homecoming since 2019. We're fortunate we're able to have Homecoming when some schools aren't," said history teacher Lori Woods, who co-sponsors the DHS Student Council with guidance counselor Erin Leverenz.
"Our sophomores haven't seen any of this," Woods said about the Homecoming festivities. "They don't understand any of it, but we've got some nice plans.
"We used to have a lot of big fun at Homecoming back in the day," she said.
This year's Homecoming promises to make up for the lost time, all the while being done safely. Most of the activities will take place outdoors or in spacious indoor venues.
"We have a huge football field and a huge field house," Woods said.
Senior Za'Raeiah Lillard said she was thankful she was going to have the opportunity to participate in the high school tradition, even with some changes.
"Homecoming is going to be different because it's going to be on the football field," she said. "But I'm graduating early, so this is going to be my last dance unless I go to Prom.
"I'm on the student council, so it's been fun to help plan it," she added.
Sophomore and football player Curtis Beasley said, "I'm looking forward to doing all the things you do at Homecoming since we didn't have Homecoming last year."
The theme of this year's Homecoming dance is "Starry Night," and it is set for 7:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, in the DHS Field House.
The Classes of 2020 and 2021 will be honored during the junior varsity game when the Vikings face-off against Urbana starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22, at Ned Whitesell Field. Urbana does not have a varsity football team this year.
The Homecoming Queen and King and the Court also will be introduced during halftime.
Spirit Week will kick off with Monochromatic Monday when students are encouraged to return to school from fall break dressed head-to-toe in their favorite color.
Also next week, the Viking Pride Patrol will take notice of students and staff who participate in Spirit Week activities and surprise the most spirited students and staff with treat bags.
Students will show their Viking pride on Home Team Tuesday by wearing DHS maroon and white as they fill the stands for a pep rally at 2 p.m. at Ned Whitesell Field. Members of the Homecoming Court will arrive at the stadium in several classic convertible Corvettes.
"The girls have to wear a dress, and they have to have some element of grace when they get out of the cars," Woods told the male members of the Homecoming Court at a recent meeting. "You've got to be nice and help her out of the car in front of 2,000 people."
The Homecoming Court will be introduced during the assembly, and the Homecoming Queen and King will be crowned. The student body cast ballots electronically for the Homecoming Court before leaving for fall break.
For Zoomed Out Wednesday, students will show their best Zoom meeting look by "being fancy on the top and wearing pajamas on the bottom," Woods said.
The class with the most pride will be determined on Class Spirit Thursday when students will wear their class T-shirt and class colors.
Spirit Night will take place starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21. Woods said the Spirit Night activities have been expanded to include more than the Powder Puff games. New this year is a limbo contest at 5:45 p.m. and Minute to Win It games that will pit classes against one another.
The highlight of Spirit Night most likely will be the Diva Dudes Dash when Viking football players will slip on dresses and run a relay race in them.
"The guys won't wear high heels, but they'll wear dresses and tiaras and run across the field," Woods explained.
Woods said the Diva Dudes Dash is fair play since they "always make fun of the girls playing (Powder Puff) football."
Spirit Night will culminate with a tug of war battle between the classes that won the Powder Puff games to determine the 2021 Class Champion. An Overall Spirit Champion also will be announced.
The Spirit Week activities will wrap up with All-American Friday when students are encouraged to wear red, white and blue to celebrate a hero in their life.