SGA announces adapted virtual homecoming


Photo Courtesy of Forrest Meng

The highlight of showing school spirit during homecoming week is the pep rallies for many students. Pictured is how in-person pep rallies have traditionally occurred: Jefferson students showing off their competitive school spirit by class. “I wouldn’t say what’s special about TJ is the homecoming day, what I would say is that the week before has some of the craziest hype I’ve ever seen. It’s like NFL level crazy,” Richik Halder said.

Yasmin Kudrati-Plummer, Staff Writer

Jefferson SGA announced on its Facebook page that the school’s iconic Homecoming Week festivities would be adapted to a virtual format this year on March 15. From April 12 to April 17, homecoming will still be taking place, but with a few key differences from past homecomings.

Homecoming week at Jefferson is usually filled with dances, pep rallies, and more. However, COVID-19 has drastically changed the way it will be done this year. A Social Media Competition, Minecraft Tournament, Chess Tournament, and Virtual Scavenger Hunt will be replacing typical events such as the Homecoming Dance, Float, Asking Week, and Weekday Pep Rallies. These major changes were implemented to accommodate students in the virtual realm, while also being able to follow proper protocol in regards to social distancing.

“Homecoming this year is entirely online, so it’s a lot harder to get [students] excited and hyped about it. Especially since the Homecoming Dance isn’t happening—which is typically the essence of homecoming, we have to make it work and figure out ways to keep the student body excited,” Jefferson freshman Zac Baker, who is helping to organize Homecoming 2021, said.

This hybrid homecoming, while reminiscent of previous homecomings, has a few key differences that have led to different student reactions and perspectives.

“Freshman year, when I went to my first homecoming, I kind of felt out of place, but then I ended up going to a pep rally and it was unbelievably cool. I actually really enjoyed it,” sophomore Sahishnu Hanumansetty said.

One thing that has stayed consistent through all homecomings is the competitions, like the class song, choreography, and others. These competitions are always a fun way for students to go all out and show their school spirit.

“This is one of the few instances at TJ where there’s healthy competition. At homecoming, it’s really nice because it’s a creative competition; you’re not trying to go out against each other, and you’re not trying to belittle others,” senior Richik Haldar said.

In past years, homecoming always brought with it a sense of school spirit and energy. Jefferson’s homecoming often differed from other schools in the amount of effort put in.

“I think the spirit at TJ is a lot more pervasive. To my friends in base school, homecoming is just a dance, whereas, at TJ, they take the spirit to the next level. It’s not just a dance,” Haldar said.

A valuable TJ tradition, homecoming, and the sense of community it provides for students were almost taken away this year when students were told that it would be unlikely that they would be able to participate in it. The new changes for accommodation amidst the pandemic circumstances are a sign of hope for many Jefferson students.

“[Jefferson students] are from all over [Northern Virginia], so we’re all displaced from our original group of friends that we’re so accustomed to. We’re thrown into a new environment and the first thing we ask ourselves is, ‘Do I belong here?’ Homecoming answers that question; at least it did for me. It made me feel like I belong,” Hanumansetty said.