About half of Coronado High School (CHS) students are preparing to experience their first high school dance as CHS launches its first Homecoming evening since 2019. The theme? “Houston, We Have A Homecoming.”
Not only will this be a first for CHS freshmen and sophomores, but for upperclassmen as well. Friday’s Homecoming dance will mark the first time a dance has been held on the quad at the school. I spoke with CHS teacher and Associated Student Body (ASB) advisor, Nicole Belong, who said, “We’re bringing in a ton of stuff, it’s going to look great and the kids also won’t have to wear masks because it will be outside.” Belong explained that while originally the dance was to be held at the San Diego Public Library event space, there were some changes that weren’t communicated to the school until two weeks ago that would have limited the number of students able to attend.
“Okay listen,” Belong had to tell her ASB students, “We’re doing it on the quad.” When Belong first took over as ASB advisor she had suggested doing Homecoming in the gym and got looks of horror in return as if she’d just suggested something truly horrendous. “I dropped it quick after that,” she laughed, noting that Coronado has had a tradition of holding the Homecoming dance, somewhat ironically, at venues outside of Coronado. But with this last minute change, Belong worked with Principal Karin Mellina and the district to verify the quad could be used and re-evaluate the budget. “The students are having a hard time picturing it,” Belong said, “but I think they’re going to love it and who knows? Maybe it’ll start a whole new tradition.”
“With the dance being held at the school, we were able to plan for a lot of fun stuff to add,” Belong told me. “There will be fog machines, a cake walk, we just added laser tag,” she listed, saying the quad will be transformed into a real club-like atmosphere for the students to enjoy. “Today [ASB] wrote typed out little notes and delivered them to everyone in a one block radius of the school to make them aware of dance since it will be outdoors at school on a Saturday night,” she added, noting that it will be the first time a dance on campus will have the DJ outside and, yes, there will be some noise. “However it will end right at 10 p.m.”
More than anything Belong is excited for the students to be able to add this bit of normalcy back into the year. Spirit days are happening all week leading up to the big events on Friday, which will once again feature a pep rally (held outdoors on the football field) that day at school, the parade with class floats in the afternoon, and the Homecoming football game, all ahead of the dance on Saturday, Oct. 9.
Senior and ASB Commissioner of Athletics, Riley McGrath, explained that the spirit days each week went with the overall space theme of the dance, which ASB came up with as the dance will be on campus underneath the stars. “Something that we chose to do since it is October is to start off the week with a breast cancer awareness day where we told our students to wear pink in support of those who have fought and those who are in the fight against breast cancer,” McGrath began. “The other days that we chose are all on the theme for the dance; Among Us day (hat day), space cowboy day(western), Space Jam day (sports jersey day), and class shirt day.”
Each class voted on a space-related movie to base their float on which will be presented at the parade on Friday. “It’s going to be business as usual,” Belong said of the parade, which the school was able to get the permit for from the city earlier in the year and will have help executing from the police and fire departments. “It’ll be the same parade route, the 12 Homecoming Court members will be riding in cars, we’ll have the great floats, the band, ROTC, the football team and classes, and the mayor, city council, and district administrators have all been invited to walk.”
The parade will begin on Orange Avenue at Adella and head north down Orange Avenue. The parade route will turn left on Seventh Street and end at the high school.
While holding pep rallies on the field is a change, Belong mentioned that “welcome back” back rally at the start of school proved to be a great success and that the field provides more space for activities like class competitions. For the rally on Friday, Belong added that, “The Homecoming Court members have been paired and will perform a skit together. After the rally we opening up voting for king and queen which closes right before the football game.” As has been done in the past, the court members will be presented at half time of the football game and the king and queen will be announced at that time.
“Another newer thing we’re doing that has been a hit,” Belong added, “is a homecoming court for pets. It’s so funny and the kids are loving it.” Student submissions and voting for the pet king and queen is all done online with many attempting to persuade their peers that their pet is the GOAT.
For some ASB members this is the first high school dance they’ve been a part of planning, and for others it’s a welcome return to that process. “It has been so fun planning the dance as this will be our first school dance since 2020,” McGrath mentioned. “I am looking forward to making connections with my classmates at all of the events this week, especially at float building and at the homecoming football game this Friday!” Belong, too, see the value of these events for the students. “Being in person, seeing people and doing things like building the floats together is so important to them,” she said. “I’m thankful we’re able to host it and hopefully have a really great Homecoming.”
The Homecoming parade will began at 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8, followed by the varsity football game at 7 p.m. which will feature the presentation of the Homecoming Court at halftime.