Raising spirits with the spirit banner

Jefferson students across all classes adapt to a socially distanced homecoming during the completion of the spirit banner


Courtesy of the TJHSST Facebook Page.

The 2021 Homecoming Banners from the Class of 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 were developed in a unique set of circumstances due to the pandemic.

Rhea Goswami, Staff Writer

Students scramble out of class as the clock strikes 12:40 p.m. It’s late September, and they’re heading off to participate in the variety of homecoming activities to support their class, such as painting the class banner and MEX practice. An event special to every Jefferson student, homecoming is a defining part of the collaborative and competitive spirit of the Jefferson community. With homecoming at Jefferson shifted to the spring-time and class councils given a one-month heads up about the events, students had the unique opportunity to participate in one of the biggest Jefferson events of the year during a pandemic. 

Traditionally, the Jefferson Student Government Association (SGA) hosts the following events each year: musical extravaganza (MEX), float, spirit banner, t-shirt contest, canned food drive contest, spirit video, class song, money was, and pep rallies. Due to the modifications for distance learning and only having one pep rally, the SGA hosted the following events this year: MEX, spirit banner, t-shirt contest, canned food drive contest, money wars, spirit video, class song, scavenger hunt, social media competition, Minecraft tournament, and chess tournament. 

Spirit banner is one of the events that remained despite the pandemic, and it brought the students in each class closer together. 

“I wanted to do something for homecoming and I love to draw and paint, so it was a win win!” freshman Paige Burke said. “It was super fun to meet everyone who was also painting, and the stress of painting it all in two hours also made it a really fun experience. If I do this again next year, I’d definitely like to be more involved in the design process, which I couldn’t do this year due to conflicts.” 

Due to this year’s distance learning and social distancing guidelines, the Jefferson homecoming banner event faced challenges as students had to meet in person to sketch and paint the spirit banner. 

“We all had conflicting schedules, and time was running out,” sophomore Praneeth Chinmay Bhandaru said. “We had to stop some of our extracurriculars to get together, and finding a space where we can actually draw the entire thing in privacy and socially distanced was hard. We also didn’t have enough erasers.”

Most classes took around two and a half hours to fully sketch and paint the banner and had meetings prior to the painting and sketching of the banner to adequately plan out the design. Each class also found new positives to the event even with the onset of the pandemic. 

“I felt I was able to talk to other members of bannercom a lot better. Previous years we’ve always had around 25 people working on banners,” senior Muhurto Rahman said. “So, it was hard to connect with everyone but this year it was much easier to just have small conversations while painting which made the whole process very soothing.”

Even with an unconventional school year and an even more unconventional homecoming, Jefferson students made new memories, met new classmates, and truly got an experience of the beauty of homecoming. 

“My favorite memory was signing the graduation caps we painted on,” Rahman said. “It was a small part of our work but I really felt it was the finishing touch to the piece.”