Story by Kristina Hoti
“Spirit Week” at Warwick Valley High School (WVHS) came to its celebratory conclusion on Sat., Sept. 16, as the traditional Homecoming Parade of students and teachers marched down a jam-packed Main St. in Warwick around 12 p.m., on what felt like a hot summer day.
Starting from the bus garage on County Rte. 1, making their way into the Village via Rte. 94 and Oakland Ave., and finally turning down Main St., the WVHS Band, under the direction of Chris Persad, led the long and spirited procession. Following the band were the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior class floats, interspersed with students and teachers from every school in the Warwick School District, the Warwick Valley Teachers’ Association, the homecoming court, the wire choir, both varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders, tennis, track and field, soccer, and volleyball teams.
The crowd on Main St. cheered as each group approached. The “hub” of the parade was at the viewing bandstand, erected just in front of TD Bank. It was at this spot that the parade would pause, so that each class could perform a skit associated with their float. Judges used a rubric with a point system to determine which class had the winning float and presentation. The bandstand was built by the Warwick Valley Future Farmers of America (FFA) with festive flowers in purple and gold, pumpkins, and cornstalk décor donated by Pennings Farm Market, DeBucks Sod Farm and the Buckbee Family.
This year, the homecoming theme was “Pixar,” and each class was assigned a Pixar movie to depict, while showcasing their “Warwick Wildcat” pride. The freshman float represented the movie, Up, the sophomore float did the Toy Story, the junior float was of Finding Nemo, and the senior float was Monsters, Inc. Students who participated in the construction of their class float did so in the bus garage from during the evenings on each week night of “Spirit Week,” which was Mon., Sept. 11 through Fri., Sept. 15. All materials used to construct the floats were brought in by the students, from their garages and backyards, or sometimes donated by local businesses.
Junior Class Float Wins Second Year in a Row
The junior class created the winning float this year, for the second year in a row. When asked about how students mobilize and coordinate this endeavor in just a few hours an evening for five days, junior and homecoming princess Madeleine Wadeson said, “We have class meetings about it, and we also have a junior class Twitter account, which I run, and we use that to make general announcements to the class and get the word out. We just ask every kid to bring everything from their house that nobody wants.”
According to Wadeson, the success of the junior class is largely attributed to their preparedness. Once the floats are finished each year, they collect all lumber and materials discarded by the other classes, to store for use the following year, so over the last few years, they have an accumulation of construction materials like plywood, lumber and PVC pipes.
The homecoming court is elected on the Thursday night of “Spirit Week” and announced to the student body during the pep rally, which is held during school on Friday. Those in attendance on at least two of the first four evenings working on float assembly in the bus garage are eligible to be elected as a homecoming prince or princess.
According to Wadeson, the idea is that those who have worked the hardest in making the floats happen are the ones who win the homecoming court titles. Ava Ghobadian, junior class president, homecoming chair and homecoming princess, described the week as “a fantastic experience that creates rivalries at the beginning of the week and brings us even closer at the end.”