Carolina Forest High School is once again taking Homecoming on the road by having the parade off campus, and visiting five elementary and three middle schools.
Last year, some of Spirit Week’s plans were dampened by Hurricane Florence, but clear weather has promised a full schedule of fun and excitement.
With Iconic Movies as this year’s theme, the seniors chose “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory;” the juniors went with “Avengers;” the sophomores are re-creating “Jurassic Park,” and the freshmen are celebrating with “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
They’ll use those themes to decorate their golf carts for the parade, to create vignettes in the hallways, and to dress up during Spirit Week.
During that week, dress-up days are Theme Day on Monday, Sept. 30, Tie Dye Day on Tuesday, Oct. 1; Career Day on Wednesday, Oct. 2; Jersey/sports team Day on Thursday, Oct. 3, and Black Out Day on Friday, Oct. 4.
The hall décor and the costumes aren’t just Homecoming trimming, they’re judged.
The winners get not only bragging rights, but the coveted “spirit stick,” which is a heavily disguised, “person-sized” PVC pipe, says student council sponsor Morgan Bane.
Every day during Spirit Week, the whole school will have lunch at the same time, and while a bit of organized chaos may ensue, Bane says it’s literally a lot of fun and games, with lunch being served at six or seven locations.
“We do play fun games and sometimes the marching band will be out there playing to get that excitement going, and it’s really fun to have the whole school at lunch at the same time.”
On Wednesday during Spirit Week, the CFHS band members will go to Carolina Forest, Ocean Bay, River Oaks, Waccamaw and Palmetto Bays elementary schools at noon.
The band will do the same thing on Thursday at Black Water, Ocean Bay and Ten Oaks middle schools.
“They’re going to walk the halls and play music and get everyone excited about the football game Friday night,” said athletic director Tripp Satterwhite.
Something new this year is holding the Powder Puff game during Spirit Week on Wednesday night.
The freshmen will play the sophomores at 5:30 p.m.; the juniors will play the seniors after that, and finally, the winners of the two games will play each other.
That girls’ flag football game has been held before, but Satterwhite says this is the first year it’s coinciding with homecoming.
“The girls play hard, and it’s just as competitive as any other football game. It’s fun to watch and it’s fun to participate in.”
Especially fun, Bane added, is that the male football players are the cheerleaders during the Powder Puff competition.
Also new this year will be the Oct. 3 pep rally at the football stadium instead of in the gym because, “We’ve outgrown the gym,” Bane says.
And, because Hurricane Florence cancelled the pep rally and the parade last year, the students are especially excited about those events.
It’s during the pep rally that the lower grades’ prince and princess and the senior king will be crowned.
“The parade starts so soon after school on Friday that it’s hard to fit everything in on one day,” Bane says, explaining why the pep rally is on Thursday.
The Homecoming Queen is of course crowned during the homecoming football game on Friday night when all the “royalty” is announced and introduced.
The Homecoming Parade will start at Tanger Outlets at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4. After turning right at Buffalo Wild Wings, it’ll wind through the parking lot in front of Famous Toastery, cross Carolina Forest Boulevard at the light and go left.
After the parade and before the football game will be a tailgate party.
That event includes free hot dogs and cupcakes in the football stadium parking lot, and hopefully, business people will come out and enjoy that, Bane says.
A main reason for the parade winding through Tanger Outlets and the shopping area in Carolina Forest, and for the tailgate party, is to encourage local business people to get involved with the high school.
“We want the whole community to come out and watch the parade, have some hot dogs and then watch the game with their families,” Bane says.
Another way the school is including the community in its activities is having football players and cheerleaders spend part of their mornings at the elementary schools.
“We are collaborating with the other schools more as teachers to work together, because these students will one day be at Carolina Forest High School.
“We want them to be excited to go to Carolina Forest and we hope that over time, with the football players and the cheerleaders opening the car doors for them and telling them to have a nice day, that will build up a more positive culture.”
Some of the student council officers have made the rounds of local businesses, telling them about Homecoming events, encouraging them to participate and hopefully even sponsor some of those events.
Getting out into the community has, Satterwhite says, been successful.
“People enjoy seeing kids having a good time and being proud of their school, showing so much school spirit.”