Leadership prepares for “A Night Among the Stars”


Zainab Khan

Sophomores Natalie Hogan and Caelin Rowell work on posters for powder puff, a game which takes place during homecoming week. Traditionally, females play football while males cheerlead, but this year the activities are coed.

Zainab Khan, Online manager

It is officially Homecoming, an eventful week filled with spirit days, daily activities, the football game on Friday, and of course, the much anticipated dance on Saturday. What some students don’t consider, though, is what goes into planning these events.

Every year, students and staff decide important factors, such as theme, budget, spirit week activities and parade details.

“We usually start [planning] in the fourth quarter the year before,” leadership advisor and physical education teacher Kristina Plaugher said. “We get the date, and then we start coming up with different ideas for themes, so we do a lot of pre-planning.”

The leadership program does all of the planning and preparation that goes into the week leading up to the football game and dance, starting as early as May or June of the previous school year. Work picks up at the start of school and continues until homecoming week, with little to no time for setbacks.

“We have two or three meetings after school [per week], in addition to what we’re doing in class,” leadership advisor and social studies teacher James MacKenzie said. “We have meetings during our lunch blocks with [Director of Student Activities Corey] Bowerman and [Principal Scott] Poole, so it’s pretty involved.”

This year’s theme is “A Night Among the Stars.” Near the end of the previous school year, each leadership committee made a presentation with ideas for spirit days, pep rally activities and lunch games that would go along with their brainstormed themes. The idea with the most votes then has to be approved by the administration, so there are always two backup options as well.

“All the leadership classes vote on which one they like best and which one works the best, because some seem like great ideas, but there’s no spirit day ideas to make for them,” senior and leadership executive board member Emory Hinkle said. “It’s a little more difficult to find a theme than people might think.”

The annual budget is also vital to planning the week; the budget changes depending on how much is raised the previous school year during fundraising events, this year’s budget being roughly $7,000. Each purchase adds up, including art supplies and decorations, so in order to afford the necessary materials, the leadership program must raise thousands. Renting the moonbounce, for example, costs about $1,000.

“We also do paperwork over the summer,” Plaugher said. “We have to book the roads [and] police officers for the parade. There is a lot of paperwork behind the scenes.”

Another popular homecoming activity, Taste of Chantilly is the event that takes place on the tennis courts before the football game, featuring food, games and entertainment. Some food options include a pho truck, gourmet grilled cheese, Chick-Fil-A and a Kona ice truck, as well as several stands run by student clubs.

When it comes to setting up the dance, leadership begins the morning of the event, and each leadership member is required to be there to help set up.

Every year, the program puts significant amounts of time and effort into planning and setting up Homecoming.

“We have been good with not having to do too much prior to school starting and being able to start school and just jump into Homecoming,” Plaugher said. “Because there’s so many events- pep rally, parade, Taste of Chantilly, halftime show and the dance- it takes a lot of work. The moment school starts, we start.”