Homecoming Week brings back the Bobcats

By Cesar Guadamuz and Mariana De Jesus

BLAST FROM THE PAST: West Broward cheerleaders, dance team and Performance Ensemble showcase their talents and promote school spirit during Homecoming week on Oct. 15. Homecoming week was the first in-person schoolwide event at West Broward since the pandemic in 2020. Photo by Mariana De Jesus  

   By August 2021, all Broward County public schools, including West Broward, returned to in-person learning after two years of online school. Since returning to campus on Aug. 18, many of West Broward’s academic clubs have been preparing to welcome back faculty and students with a week-long Homecoming extravaganza that will signify a new beginning on the Bobcat campus.   

   Beginning on Oct. 11, Homecoming season at West Broward included a timeline of various themed activities, pride expression and a vibrant football game leading up to the first dance of the school year. This week was meticulously planned and hosted by the Student Government Association (SGA) and their sponsor, activities director and biology teacher, Donna Yard. To recognize this paramount event and the return of in-person schooling, West Broward strayed from the past of holding the spirit-building Homecoming pep rally in the gymnasium and instead organized a Club Carnival. To showcase the numerous clubs at West Broward, each club planned and cultivated a game booth for students and staff to enjoy before the long-awaited Homecoming game.  

   “We are still showing off some of the normal things that we used to do, but now we get to show off our clubs as well. The things that they are sending in for the carnival kind of go with who they are as a club, so it is even more fun,” Yard said. “The idea for the Club Carnival was inspired by the movie ‘Greased Lightning’ and our theme for the week is blast from the past. At the end of the first movie, there’s a carnival, and it is kind of the culmination of the movie and I thought that it would be cool to do a carnival here. Obviously, we will not have all the rides, but it goes with the blast from the past theme.”  

FASTBALL: (from left to right) Junior Daniela Ponce and Joelina Martin, sophomore Aidan Calderon, junior Alessandra Alfonso and sophomore Natalia Rodriguez demonstrate to students how to play “Baseball Toss” and earn tickets for candy. The spirit week lunch activities hosted by SGA encouraged a lively environment that foreshadowed the Club Carnival. Photo by Mariana De Jesus  

   West Broward’s 2021 pre-homecoming Club Carnival pep rally celebrated the return of West Broward, incorporating all the elements that truly represent the school. Precautionary measures were still taken with hosting the carnival outside at the courtyard and pavilion.   

   “I think we strayed from the original pep rally because of COVID since we are outside the risk of transmitting COVID is less than in an indoor denser condition,” said senior Key Club President Sebastian Palacios. “I really like the idea of a carnival. I think it is another example of West Broward students being able to engage with one another and to learn more about clubs they can join.”     

   Homecoming season started off with Spirit Week where students dressed in accordance with the themes set by SGA. This event flooded the school with students all looking to participate in fun games and events to promote school spirit. Clubs like the Spanish Honor Society volunteered to take over the cafeteria with music and games and introducing the massive Club Carnival that would take place later that week on Fri. Oct. 15 in the school’s courtyard.    

  “I hope that throughout the year we can do a lot of lunch games,” said biology teacher, National Honor Society sponsor and science department head, Sarah Zorn-Milmed. “The idea of the carnival is that now with everyone back on campus, to have as many students participate instead of being passive and watching. We want to re-engage the students.”  

SLAM DUNK: (From left to right) Junior Alex Butler runs the Human Relations basketball shooting competition booth at the Club Carnival while junior Jason Webster attempts to win a prize by making as many baskets as possible before junior Ashlee De Armas. The Club Carnival was one of the first opportunities for students to participate in fun activities on campus in over a year. Photo by Mariana De Jesus  

The following day on Tuesday Oct. 12, students dressed in the style of different decades to celebrate the theme “Blast from the Past”. Wednesday Oct. 13 was defined by the rivalry between students dressed as senior citizens and those dressed as toddlers. During group day on Thursday Oct. 14 students dressed in themes planned by themselves and their peers. The festive week at the school’s campus ended on Friday Oct. 15 with pride day in preparation for the homecoming game. The school was invaded by students dressed in school colors and Bobcat gear. 

   “The different events during pride week showed that school spirit is back,” said Zorn. “I think the student body had a lot of fun engaging in the week’s activities.”  

   Friday evening, West Broward played its Homecoming game against Coral Glades, the culmination of Spirit Week festivities. The Homecoming game is the most highly anticipated home game of the year and a chance for the school to show its enthusiasm by packing the stands. It also leads to the Homecoming dance, taking place the following night. The energy in the stands supported the team, which fed the energy in the stands. Despite the excitement throughout the stadium, the Bobcats fell to the Jaguars 27-21.  

  “There is a little more on the line for the Homecoming game. We really want to show everyone that we are a good team, and we want to represent West Broward,” said varsity captain Jude Roman. “Seeing everyone show spirit and show that they care about the team and the school really makes us get more locked in to show everyone at West Broward that we are a winning team.”  

   Saturday, Oct. 16 would conclude this memorable week with the Homecoming dance. It was an opportunity for the school to celebrate being together. It is also an outlet for creativity as students dress to match the theme, “A Blast from the Past.” The dance is a direct effect that Spirit Week had on the school and a celebration of what it means to be a Bobcat. The Club Carnival highlighted the enthusiastic and hard-working students who pursue their passions daily through school-involvements, actively celebrating their Bobcat pride.    

  “Hopefully the Club Carnival will get clubs to do more interactive activities like lunch games and other concepts that show off what they can do on campus,” Yard said. “The idea to merge the club rush and the pep rally was a new way to show off the cool stuff West Broward has to offer.”    

MID GAME MADNESS READY: (From left to right) Class of 2022 officers Benjamin Brady, Angelina Campos and Carolyn Hurtado cause commotion as they walk across the football field holding a banner celebrating the Class of 2022. This year’s Homecoming game halftime show featured a club rush where clubs and other student-run associations immersed themselves onto the field to celebrate who they are and the hard work they do at West Broward. Photo Courtesy of Wintchell Henry  

SPLISH SPLASH: Karen Syrocki enjoys a splash courtesy of the Robotics Club’s Dunk Tank after being pummeled by whipped cream pies moments earlier. The Club Carnival gave everyone on campus an opportunity to unwind after a long week of school before a weekend of fun. Photo Courtesy of  Zofia Larragoite  

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PREHISTORIC MARKETING Duncan the Dinosaur, the Distributive Education Clubs of America’s (DECA) iconic mascot, portrayed by Max Miori, walks around the Club Carnival on Oct. 15. Not only was the Club Carnival the first big event of the year, but it was also the first time all the clubs had the opportunity to express themselves and show off who they are. Photo by Mariana De Jesus  

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