And The Crown Goes To… Probably Not Garfield

The mysterious history of homecoming at Garfield.


By Mairead Averill

Queens and kings, dancing in a beautiful dress, stealing a kiss with your crush, Homecoming is a night to remember for the rest of your life, But at Garfield Highschool this isn’t the case.

Homecoming did not take place in 2021 due to COVID-19 precautions. All Class president Imogene Ostrom says, “The week after we had the welcome to school assemblies, SPS passed something that said, “you can’t have assemblies, you can’t have events, nothing even if it’s outdoors.” Although spirit week and the game went on, Students have missed the unique experience of GHS homecoming.

However, Garfield has not observed a normal homecoming for a very long time. Ostrom gave her insight on the dance’s unconventional history.

“I have no idea. I have always just thought hoco was like it was at Garfield until I went to other schools. I thought it was just like a party but the other schools I’ve been to just go all out, like prom dresses, tickets, dinners, photos,” Ostrom said. For clarification Ostrom uses the term ‘hoco’ as slang for homecoming.

Evan Fein, a 1989 grad from GHS explained his own homecoming experience. “We had a big football game and a huge crowd and cheerleaders holding a huge sign for the players to run through. Tons of students came to the big exciting event.” This all sounded familiar, until he talked about the dance. “People would get dressed up and go to the dance, it was a big deal,” Fein said. It is unclear whether Garfield’s underwhelming Homecomings are due to budget issues, student body preference or the inconsistency of the event over the years. Fein’s son, Gabriel Fein, is a Garfield graduate as well from the class of 2021. “when Gabe was a freshman there was a carnival I think.” Mr. Fein recalls.

The 2016 yearbook had its own take on homecoming, writing, “Every year, Garfield chooses to celebrate the true meaning of homecoming… while most schools focus on the formal dance or the game, the true spirit of homecoming lies in the hearts of the past and present students of Garfield.”

Homecoming has a different meaning for the students and faculty at Garfield. “Dances are not very inclusive, only the ‘in crowd’ would get invited, and no one wanted to go alone, so dances could have been contributing to social division,” said Fein.

Garfield’s choice to change this event due to the exclusivity component or not is up for debate, but when the fantasy of the dance is stripped away, it is easily recognized that the school has exchanged social hierarchy for school pride. Y-E-L-L in the gym unites and brings a sense of the community to the school and student body, while promposals and expensive dresses may divide. There is still an unsolved mystery as to why the change came about, but maybe Garfield students aren’t missing out after all.