Champaign Central Chronicle

The Student News Site of Champaign Central High School

Champaign Central Chronicle

Champaign Central Chronicle

Marooned on Summer Paradise – Homecoming 2023

Another year, another homecoming week. Every fall thousands of high schools and colleges across the country host Homecoming weeks that end with the big football game, followed by a grand school dance. This year, Central hosted its Homecoming on the night of September 9th, the night after a much needed 55-14 victory against Springfield Lanphier in the homecoming game.

This year’s Homecoming week was slightly different than most others, as instead of five days dedicated to a spirit week and in-school festivities, Labor day weekend shortened it to only four days this year. But that didn’t stop Central students from having any less spirit, some students campaigning for Homecoming Court on social media, whiteboards, and flyers in the days leading up to court voting. One member of this year’s Homecoming Court is Maddie Dorsla, who was one of the two juniors voted in and brought out during the pep rally and halftime of the football game.

“I just asked for other people to vote for me,” said Dorsla, who didn’t even expect to get nominated. When asked how she found out she’d made it to Homecoming Court, Dorsla said “Ms. Hogan emailed me, and told me where I was gonna enter.”

One of the other traditions during Central’s Homecoming week is the Wednesday night powderpuff game, a flag football game contested between girls from the junior and senior classes at Mckinley Field. This year’s game ended in victory for the seniors, as per usual with a score of 14-6.

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“So the seniors win every year because it’s rigged, that’s just how it is.” remarked junior Powderpuff player, Julia Bilsbury. “My favorite moment of the game was probably when I ran the ball all the way down to the end zone and then stopped before scoring a touchdown because I thought someone had pulled my flag but they hadn’t. It was funny, but also kind of upsetting because I didn’t score a touchdown and could’ve. My team and coaches kept making fun of me, but we all made a lot of mistakes that we laughed off since it is just Powderpuff after all.”

Senior player, Addison Jones, claimed her favorite part was “being around all of our peers and stuff and playing with my class. It was good, everyone was really happy, and it was a good game.”

While Wednesday may have been disappointing for the juniors, Friday night was an exciting night for all of the Maroons, taking their first victory of the season against Springfield Lanphier after two devastating home losses to Normal West and Normal Community. While Friday night’s game may have ended in a favorable blowout, it did not go without tension. Several incidents occurred between frustrated Lanphier players and the Maroons, most notably was the Lions refusing to shake hands with the Maroons immediately following the game. Nonetheless, Central dominated this game from the start, and managed to recover four on-side kicks on top of the two pick six touchdowns, including a 101 yard pick six made by junior Linebacker, Aidan Walker.

“When I caught it I just thought I’d run out of bounds, but then I saw my teammate next to me and I let him get in front of me to make a block and started running down the sideline and hoped I didn’t get caught,” said Walker when asked about how he felt during his pick six. As for the outcome of the game itself, Walker said “Both sides of the ball were flourishing at a high level. Offense had multiple running backs and receivers get touchdowns. Defense was able to shut them down to 14 points. Special teams recovered four onside kicks to get offense back the ball so we could score again, so that was really good all around.” When starting Quarterback, George Rouse, was asked the same, he commented “I thought it was really cool, there was a great turnout in the student section and it was overall fun to get a win. Last year’s Homecoming it (the dance) wasn’t really fun because we got beat and then we had to go to Homecoming so it was a lot more fun having that good energy going into the dance.”

The end of this year’s Homecoming week came out well after the win, with the Commons decorated in its summer paradise theme chosen by the Student Council. Dance themes and spirit weeks are another common part of Homecomings, with this year’s spirit week only correlating to the theme on Thursday with Hawaiian Shirt Day, while Tuesday was PJ Day, Wednesday was Dress to Impress for Picture Day, and Friday was Class Colors Day.

“We started doing it at the end of last year and it was mostly Ms. Hogan’s idea. Sometimes we’d look on Pinterest and get ideas. We’d always do Class Colors because that’s tradition and something we do. We know everybody likes to do Pajama Day, and like the other ones we just saw people’s opinions in our meeting,” said Jones, President of the Champaign Central Student Council. When asked about the lack of a Homecoming parade since 2019, she insisted “It was too soon this year, and it never started back up after COVID. It would’ve made sense to do it last year, except now none of us have experienced that parade in high school, so we don’t really know how to run it. Maybe next year though.”

When other students were asked their thoughts on this week’s spirit week, dance theme, and location, however, reactions were more mixed. “It’s the same stuff every year, like the Pajama Day, ” remarked Dorsla, who didn’t believe spirit week was very amusing. However, Rouse stated, “I think Spirit Week’s a good idea. I think they need to promote it a little bit more, because I would have participated but I didn’t know, so I didn’t really participate this year.”

Nonetheless, the dance turned out to be whatever each person made it, with some students thinking it was great and others thinking it was terrible. With a school as large as Central, Homecoming is really what one makes of it today, although nearly all of those interviewed believed Combes gym, which was the location before 2022, was the better venue. Lighting was also an issue at this year’s Homecoming, with the lights coming on around 30 minutes into the dance and staying on for the rest of the night.

“It was worse, because first of all the lights were on.” remarked Dorsla about this year’s dance, while Jones said, “I think it was fine. The dance in general I think the amount of people there was good, but the fact they couldn’t turn off the lights was bad.” Bilsbury meanwhile believed, “My freshman year (2021) Homecoming was the best one we’ve had so far. I think being in Combes gym is the most fun atmosphere. The Commons is too big. It also sucked that the lights weren’t off.” Rouse agreed, stating “It was okay, I think they should do it in Combes, like they did our freshman year (2021) and maybe not have the lights on, but it was okay.”

Even with lighting issues however, the excitement at this year’s Homecoming dance could be seen well with crowd surfing and moshing going on up front towards the DJ, which students gave slightly better reviews than most years.

“I did not like that they played WAP,” stated senior Everett Carlson, while Bilsbury claims that she “thought the DJ was fine, I like that they played Taylor Swift. I wasn’t there for that long so I didn’t hear all the music, but for what I was there for it was good.” Similar to both, Carlson and Bilsbury, Jones stated, “I didn’t think it was that bad, like it was definitely better than some other dances but just some other songs didn’t need to be played.”

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About the Contributor
Adam Edwards, Opinions Editor
Hello, my name is Adam Edwards (Class of 2025) and I am the new Opinions Editor with The Champaign Chronicle.  I began writing articles with The Chronicle in August of 2023, and assumed the Opinions Editor position in Janurary 2024. Feel free to contact me in the links below.

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