Nile C. Kinnick homecoming parade wows local community
YOKOSUKA- Nile C. Kinnick High School celebrated its Homecoming weekend with a parade down Clements Blvd. on board Fleet Activities Yokosuka Oct. 7.
The parade followed the Homecoming dance which was held the night before, then was followed by the Homecoming football game in which Kinnick defeated Seoul American High School 27-0.
“Our military families are in stressful situations in many cases while being here. To add a bit of hometown flavor to their day, especially on a day like we had, is a good thing,” said Emily Lee, Kinnick acting school principal. “It just felt really down to earth and friendly and I’m hoping that it was kind of a stress reducer for some of the families, Sailors and Marines; to just get a smile on their face and say oh this is something similar to what I have seen back home in America.”
With its origin traced back to the 1911 Kansas vs. Missouri football game, Homecoming is defined as the tradition of welcoming back alumni of a specific school or former residents of a city or town. It is commonly referred to as a time-honored tradition held in universities, colleges and high schools throughout the United States and is celebrated either late September or early October.
School celebrations usually include activities such as sports and culture events and a parade through the streets of the city or town. Led by the sounds of the Kinnick band, their public display was no exception.
“I think that we have such a wonderful band and that is really the pride of the community,” said Lee. “They actually call themselves the pride of Kinnick, and indeed they are. There only two large marching bands like this in all of the (Department of Defense Education Activity) and all over the world, with us being the ones to represent in the Pacific, so they really are a source of pride for our kids and our community and I like that very much.”
Lee emphasized the efforts of the Kinnick student counsel, which was under the instruction of math department head Cheytoria Hickey and the school counselor, Foster Jones.
“We should give a shout out to the student counsel,” said Lee. “They put on a whole week of fabulous homecoming activities and the planning was absolutely super and their two sponsors, Miss Cheytoria Hickey and Foster Jones did a fabulous job helping to guide them, giving them the structure they need to put on something like that and this parade really was the culmination and it showed what they could do.”
Leading up to the weekend parade and football game, students worked to get their school through the homecoming experience by participating in ‘Spirit Week’ activities, which were geared toward enhancing school spirit amongst each respective class from freshman to senior.
The activities held during the week prior to the parade were Pajama Day, Hawaiian Day, Twins Day and Spirit Day, a pep rally, which was followed by the homecoming dance.
“All the grade-levels did a really fabulous job,” said Lee. “They decorated the halls and had their homecoming dance over at Yokosuka Middle School. We had a solid turnout of students and it was just something special for them to do. Each day there was something fun and exciting going on throughout the week. I just thought they did a real, traditional American homecoming. That is what I like about being here at Kinnick. There are so many things that we do here that are so much a part of our own American heritage and to have that here I really like that.”
As a part of the parade, each grade level had a float designed to represent their respective class, and anyone who was a student of the school could walk with them during the festivities. Upon the completion of the parade, students, family members and friends then had the opportunity to watch Kinnick’s victory on the gridiron against visiting Seoul American High, which further solidified the homecoming experience.
Senior Homecoming king and running back Quinton Holden had 110 yards on 14 carries, including a 28-yard touchdown run. Senior team captain and middle linebacker Alexander Banks finished the game with 15 tackles, including 2 for losses.
“To win on this, my final Homecoming at the moment feels like everything in the world to me,” said Banks. “It really brought my spirits up and only encouraged me more to try to play further and further onto college and to see how far I can go with it.”
Many of his teammates shared the same sentiment.
“It was exhilarating,” said senior offensive lineman Samuel MacSwain. “That is probably the best way to describe how I feel now. The whole week has been challenging to participate in activities between the classes to see who has the most spirit, and finally today, to see so many people come to support us makes this much more special to me.”
The football team was not the only group celebrating a victory at homecoming. The Kinnick cross-country track team recently came out victorious over Kanto Plain schools.
“Today is special because our boys and girls cross-country teams are the Kanto League Champions for Japan,” said Junior Elicia Daring, Kinnick cross-country team member. “We both took first place this week at Tama Hills and I feel really accomplished because of the all the hard work we put in and it paid off in the end and I feel really good about my team.”