Education column: Homecoming parade has history

There is finally a hint of autumn in the air, relief from the long, brutal heat we’ve been experiencing. With the onset of fall comes the season of “homecoming” celebrations.

Although the origins of the tradition of homecoming are debatable, it is generally agreed that in the early 1900s, inviting alumni to “come home” for the associated events generated excitement and school spirit for the homecoming activities, especially football games.

The University of Missouri and Baylor are the two names that crop up in the history of early “homecoming” celebrations, although some say the Harvard-Yale alumni began homecoming traditions as early as the 1870s.

Regardless, the traditional season of homecoming activities is approaching, and our Clovis High School Freshman Academy (CHSFA) is making preparations. The Freshman Academy will be celebrating its second annual Homecoming Day Parade 10 a.m. Sept. 15. The procession will be held on Cameo Street, beginning at 13th Street and continuing the couple of blocks to the Freshman Academy. The parade will highlight the CHSFA Purple Pride with banners and floats as the culmination of week-long celebrations of various homecoming activities. CHSFA extends a warm invitation for all to come by and view the parade.

The CHSFA Homecoming Day Parade was begun last year through the initiative of several teachers who began with the idea of making small-scale floats to “parade” through the school building as part of the homecoming festivities. As more teachers, students, and administrators became involved the event grew, and the final product was a proper parade down the street, involving next-door neighbor, Cameo Elementary students and teachers, in the process.

Clubs, classes, groups, and individuals created floats; some became engineering projects for math and science classes, requiring precise measurements and other skills in the construction. Students honed their business letter-writing skills in the process of applying to the city of Clovis for permission to hold their parade. Cameo sixth-grade students were enlisted as official judges for the parade entries, and all in all, along with the fun and laughter, a great deal of learning and community building resulted from the efforts of students and staff.

This year’s second annual CHSFA Homecoming Parade is being headed up and organized by Michelle Morris and Corinthia (Coco) Hall, both teachers at the Freshman Academy. It is thanks to the many teachers and other staff members that step outside the classroom walls and continue teaching and modeling admirable character traits that we see directly impact our students.

It also takes strong instructional leadership to lay the foundation and build the school culture that encourages these kinds of events and activities at our schools. Diana Russell, principal at CHSFA, maintains, “Involving all students in a variety of constructive activities improves their transition into young adulthood and helps them become productive, contributing citizens … we know that any time we’re able to connect what’s taking place in the classroom to the read world, student learning is taking place.”

So … make a note on your calendar and come see the parade.

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the Instructional Technology Coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at cindy.kleyn-kennedy@clovis-schools.org