Virtual Homecoming 2020 A Success


Hannah Steinberg, Reporter, Freshman

Homecoming is an exciting, beautiful tradition shared by schools across the country, and is one many look forward to each year. It is a time when students have fun with their friends, teams showcase their abilities, and all are able to watch the many different sport teams in action! Unfortunately, the homecoming our school has had in the past could not be possible because of the need for social distancing. COVID-19 guidelines, as well as concerns over students and faculty safety, prevented spectators from attending  games, thus eliminating homecoming games and the traditional pep rally. But nothing can stop a pelican from flying high so, during ninth period on November 13, a virtual homecoming was hosted. 

This event, made possible by the SA, included comical videos from each team in which they introduced the individual players.  All the teams were represented by a song they chose. The videos also showcased the teams abilities and skills, since students were unable to spectate games. The individual team videos were made either at a field, with players in masks, or separately at home, and then edited into one long video. 

In order to watch, the video was played in everyone’s ninth period class that Friday afternoon. If someone didn’t have a class at that time, they received a link via email. The event opened with a performance of “Star Spangled Banner” by the school band. Next, the team’s videos were played, guaranteed to make every student laugh and smile while watching. The video closed with another performance by the band to “Take On Me”, and concluded with a performance from both the chorus and band of “The Pelican Parade Song.” 

Even though we were not able to have a traditional homecoming, we were able to get behind the scene clips from every team, see them in action, and acknowledge every player at Pelham Memorial High School. Overall, it was a creative way to still have homecoming in these circumstances and safely.

Irene Beldiman, the captain of the girls varsity tennis team said, “Virtual homecoming is a really nice idea but there’s no way to replicate an actual one. From the pep rally, the barbecue and all the games that happen, I wish we had found a way to do it outside that followed guidelines as an alternative. I’m still super happy we could work something out though and am excited to see what each team puts together.”

“Tennis is low risk so we actually haven’t had COVID affect us too much,” Irene continued. “ We have enough time for mask breaks in matches, and often we only need to wear them when we are breaking that 6 feet, like when we switch sides. 

Jane Dunbar, the captain of the varsity field hockey team said, “Obviously it’s sad to see homecoming be virtual, but we’re all trying to look at the positives of this year. The changes have definitely made things challenging but as a team we’ve just tried to take everything one day at a time. We only have a couple games left but we’re hoping to finish off strong! With everything that’s going on I think we’ve definitely bonded more and have been trying to not take anything for granted.” 

Jamie Burke, the captain of the girls cross country team said: “Speaking for the team, we are sad since this year is my, and many other seniors on the team’s, last year running cross country at Pelham. It would have been nice to have a proper pep rally, but I am glad that Pelham is accommodating by making a virtual homecoming, so at least we can have some kind of continuation of this tradition. 

Jamie also noticed significant changes this year to the team.

“The size of both the girls and the boys team has grown exponentially, since many other fall sports were cancelled because of the pandemic,” Jamie said. “This is new, since our teams are usually small knit communities, but we have gained lots of new and impressive runners. The growth in size of our team and the mask mandate when running are some new/different aspects we have incorporated this year.”

It has been a challenge for the student athletes to adapt to the new normal and for COVID to play such a large role in school and sports. However, with the circumstances we had, the virtual Homecoming definitely was a successful and fun event! 

Ms. Rice, the Student Association advisor, addressed the changes in Homecoming 2020. The week leading up to homecoming was a challenge.

“I think the Pelican Pride days were very spirited,” Rice said. “A lot of students dressed in their gear.  Not as many as I hoped, but I think it was difficult to keep track of what to wear–the cold weather didn’t help the fancy days either!”

Planning an event takes a lot of great minds collaborating to find a solution.

Rice said, “The SA came up with this plan and they are fantastic students who want to make sure traditions are preserved. It was hard to accept that homecoming would be different this year, but the video option was an easy and fun way to have a homecoming that was still Covid-Appropriate. I am worried that there may be teams that didn’t get their videos back in time, or maybe didn’t know exactly what to do so they were not included. Nevertheless, it was something that the SA worked really hard to address.”

Still, she acknowledged that some might be disappointed in this strange, new version of homecoming.

Rice said, “It’s hard to know how students felt about it, so I would love to hear some cheering! The classrooms seemed a bit quiet while the rally was playing.”

Ms. Rice need not have feared as the overall reaction was positive.

One student, who chose to remain anonymous, said, “I loved that we were able to get to know each sports team through the video. It made me feel like I was a part of the teams!”

Ms. Rice gave credit to the students.

“Irene Beldiman did the work putting it together,” Rice said. “In my eyes, she is absolutely AMAZING and very talented!”