From decorated hallways, the big game, and returning alumni, Homecoming is a big deal at Lake Ridge; however, Homecoming isn’t immune to the changes caused by COVID-19. The number of fans at the game will be limited and attendees are required to wear a mask.Those, at Lake Ridge, who decide to help decorate hallways have to social distance, wear masks, and sign in when decorating.
This is the last homecoming for seniors; therefore; it can be a bittersweet time for them. Senior, Michael Parker, is sad to see his time at Lake Ridge come to an end, but is happy to be playing at the Homecoming game.
“I’m sad that my last homecoming game had to be impacted by COVID- 19, but I’m glad that I actually get to play this game. I also get to play with the friends I’ve made over the years, so it should be a really special night. I do plan to come to homecoming next year, so hopefully COVID-19 is over by then to get that full HOCO experience,” Parker
Some sports have special traditions they follow for homecoming that have been cancelled due to the virus. Varsity Eagle Elite member, Pamela Tamo, says she is sad to be missing out on some traditions.
“Usually for homecoming, we do a special dance with our dads and unfortunately this year we aren’t doing that. That made me sad because I’d been looking forward to dancing with my dad for homecoming since last year. I am glad I get to participate in homecoming and, hopefully, I’ll get to dance with my dad next year,” Tamo said.
The Homecoming game is a big part of homecoming. However, Mansfield ISD has limited the number of fans in the stands. Varsity wide receiver and junior, Kamdon McFarland, thinks that homecoming won’t feel the same.
“I think homecoming will be fun, but it definitely won’t be as fun as it was in the past because we can’t get too close to each other on the sidelines to celebrate and the fans can’t get close to each other either, so we’ll have to work harder for there to be a lot of energy. I’ve been working hard to prepare all season, but I’ve been training extra hard for this game since it’s our homecoming game, there’s a lot of pressure on us,” McFarland said.
Another tradition at Lake Ridge is to decorate the hallways for homecoming. This year’s theme is Wizard of Oz with each grade level decorating a hallway. Junior, Madison Martinez, decorated hallways both last year and this year and is excited to be a part of this Lake Ridge tradition.
“Last year I had a lot of fun decorating the hallways so I wanted to do it again this year. I like being behind the scenes and getting a sneak peak at the hallways before everybody else. With everything changing because of Corona, I’m just glad that we still get to decorate the hallways and keep that tradition alive,” Martinez said.
A lot of planning goes into the hallways. Junior, Kaley Ngo, planned out the Junior hallways and is making it come to life.
“Our annual hallway decoration competition is a big deal because the competitive tension motivates each grade level to create and accomplish a themed hallway. The homecoming event itself is a well respected occasion that requires school spirit, and the hallways are a great way of showing and putting in that school effort. Overall, even though it can be time-consuming and stressful, the process itself allows students to participate in a fun activity, and the result always manages to amaze our school in preparation for homecoming. However, this year everyone is mandated to wear a mask in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Secondly, the number of people that attend our annual hallway decorations is significantly less than the previous years. In order to accomplish all of our tasks, students that show up are given a handful of duties to complete by a certain due date, which can cause high stress levels and tension,” Ngo said.
Although Corona has impacted homecoming, many clubs and teams are putting in extra work in order to make the tradition enjoyable for the student body. The Lake Ridge Eagles will face off against the Desoto Eagles Friday, October 30 at 7:30 PM at Vernon Newsom Stadium with hopes for a win.