Bring Home Homecoming! One Student’s Argument for a Return to Tradition


The Trail 1975

Images from NPHS Homecoming in 1975

Kalina Kornacki, staff writer

Homecoming. You’ve seen the celebration in movies and tv shows. The great big football games and the sweet signs people would ask each other out with. You have probably even wanted to participate in one after seeing the fun times people seem to have. The schools in Summit, Randolph, Morris Hills, Montclair, Rahway, West Orange, and Berkeley Heights (just to name a few towns), all have homecoming dances. So why shouldn’t New Providence? 

Mrs.Barletta, the assistant secretary to the Vice Principal, says that homecoming used to be a big deal. As a past student at New Providence High School, she says that the school used to host a homecoming. 

“It used to be a big deal, but things change,” she states plainly.

After ending in the mid-1970s, people didn’t look back. If it didn’t matter then, then why should it matter now? It’s not like people miss it. Some students, like Ava Glaser (sophomore) and Christian Muller (sophomore), can see why this makes sense. 

“Because we’ve never had [a homecoming], we don’t know what we’re missing out on” Glaser says.

Muller says that homecoming is also “dialing down on importance”. Homecoming doesn’t seem to be a lot of people’s main priorities, and it is usually overshadowed by prom.

While these statements hold truth, many students, and teachers, can’t help but wonder why the school had the homecoming cancelled. Did the reason have to do with financial problems? Did a major event occur during the dance that made it seem dangerous? 

Teachers like Mrs.Halpern, the physical education teacher and the junior class advisor, and Mrs.McGraw, the high school librarian, do not know the reason. Both teachers had homecoming dances at their school, and found it to be a great way to connect the community together. Mrs.Halpern says that when she first began working at New Providence 15 years ago, she would have assumed that the school hosted a homecoming. She says that the New Providence students show a lot of spirit and a homecoming would reflect that enthusiasm.

So, if New Providence were to have a homecoming, the first question would be, when would we have it and does there have to be a homecoming football game? If so, who would it be against? 

Usually, a huge football game is hosted at the end of the school’s long spirit week. The game used to be, and in most places, still is, the focus of homecoming celebrations. Most homecoming games are publicized as the biggest game of the season and almost everyone wants to be a part of the celebration in some way. For New Providence, that game would be the famous Thanksgiving football game. 

Mr.Carangelo, the Athletic Director of New Providence High School, states that while the school does not have an official homecoming game, the Thanksgiving game is like an unofficial version of a homecoming game, welcoming all students, kids, parents and alumni. 

“The way the communities operate and the way they work, and how close we are with Berkeley Heights, whether we are home or whether we are away, the crowd we draw in in semi-similar.”

Nathan Woodby (senior), also agrees that the football game against the school’s rival, Governor Livingston, is a big deal, and it’s a great way to bring the students and community together.

Considering the time when the Thanksgiving game is, a homecoming dance would have to be around Thanksgiving day. However, a main concern Mr.Carangelo brought up was that many people travel during the holidays, so a dance would have to be sometime before the big game. So it wouldn’t necessarily be called a homecoming football game, but it would still have the same impact, bringing back old alumni and spirited students.

After deciding when a homecoming would be, in order to begin planning for the actual homecoming dance, you have to know who’s attending it in order to decide how much money you have to raise or where you have to host it. While homecoming should primarily be for the upperclassmen, students like Grace Miller (junior) and KC Boyle (senior), think that the homecoming dance should be open to all students.

This doesn’t have to be a quick decision. Boyle suggested trying a trial of a homecoming. Allow the upperclassmen to do a trial run of a homecoming one year. If all goes well, the school can then try to integrate the lowerclassmen into the mix of the homecoming dance.

Both students state how it would be a good way to connect all of the grades, bringing the students closer together. 

After deciding who is allowed to attend, now comes the hard part. Who is going to run this project? What fundraisers need to be done in order to pay for such a dance? Where will it be hosted?

Most people believe that the dance should be hosted in the high school gym. It provides a good amount of room, and if needed, the cafeteria could also be used. 

Fundraising and financial issues shouldn’t be too big of a problem, according to Christina Alexandrov (sophomore). Even though New Providence may be a small school, there are no problems with money. She also points out that, we [the students] have only one life to live. We should live and have fun while we can.

One way to lower the cost of the dance would be for people to volunteer to bring food, like cookies, brownies, chips, and drinks. The one thing the fundraising money would have to pay for (food wise) would be pizza.

Paying for decorations wouldn’t be a problem either. Mrs.McGraw, who is a member of the Sustainability Council for New Providence, says that the decorations don’t have to be extremely expensive or crazy. People could afford to pay for environmentally safe decorations, which cost less. However, the amount of effort needed to make these decorations will take a long time. 

So overall, the decorations and food situations wouldn’t take up a lot of the fundraising money. Most of the money would be used to pay for a DJ and or any extra items needed for the dance, like a photo booth or a professional photographer.

Unfortunately, many students and teachers alike have agreed and pointed out that not many people are willing to put in the effort to plan and actually start or help with a homecoming dance. If there were to be a dance, Mrs.McGraw says that there should be a committee of students that would have to run, plan, and decorate for the dance. They would be the ones making the decorations and doing most of the fundraising. If needed, the student councils could also get involved to help out the homecoming committee. Mrs.McGraw also says that if students were willing to put in the effort, she would gladly accept the position to be the advisor of that committee.

Along with the troubles of putting in the efforts to make a homecoming dance possible, another question arises. How many students are willing to go? Mrs.Halpern wisely pointed out that high schoolers associate school dances with middle school. While some students may remember middle school dances as a fun way to hang out with friends, others may not have such fond memories, therefore rejecting the idea of a homecoming dance, finding it as an immature and unnecessary proposal.

Tess Powers (sophomore), attends Chatham High School and reflects how a homecoming has had a positive impact on her high school experience.

“It’s important because it’s a nice break from the stress of modern life and it’s just a good time with all of your friends.”

After all the information gathered from students and teachers, it seems that there are mixed feelings on a homecoming. While there are positive aspects, there are also many questions that need to be taken more into consideration.