Sweat starts to bead on my brow and I can feel my face burning red under the hot sun. Nothing can stop my grin or each step that propels me forward. I eagerly anticipate the moment when the school will come into view. I glance around me at the group of about 20 students charging forward. We have one purpose, one mindset, and one loyalty. We refuse to stop until we reach the school, our school. We are the Titan torch runners, and we represent Olympus High School. My feet finally touch the school parking lot and I sprint forward.
A typical high school homecoming consists of a dance, a football game, powder puff football, and maybe an appearance of men’s drill team. These activities only begin to describe Homecoming at Olympus High School. Homecoming, unlike other schools, is a weeklong production with activities every day. Because this was the final Homecoming in the original Olympus High, the Homecoming Committee wanted to focus on the traditions of Olympus and its Greek centered name. They chose the theme: “Omega: The Great O.”
Monday– Toga Fashion Show
To kick off the Greek themed week, Homecoming Committee wore Greek “chitons” or togas while passing out calendars, pens, and primary ballots for Homecoming Royalty. OLY students also enjoyed finding their names written on individual pieces of paper decorating the hallways. During lunch, a runway was erected for a“Toga Fashion Show” of Greek gods and goddesses. Nike, goddess of victory; Athena, goddess of wisdom and warfare; Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty; Poseidon, god of the sea; Hades, god of the underworld, Zeus, god of the sky, and Timmy the Titan were in attendance.
Tuesday– Outdoor Movie and Feast Night
OLY students were pleasantly surprised with chicken souvlaki and fresh tomatoes, tangy lemon rice, and warm slabs of pita bread. “The food was extraordinary!” Scott King, sophomore, describes. “I love that it was GREEK food.”
Wednesday– Powder Puff and Men’s Drill
Even powder puff used an aspect of the Greek theme. For their t-shirts they paid tribute to Nike, the winged goddess of victory. Greeks prayed to this goddess before participating or watching the Olympics. The game heated up between the senior team and the sophomore/junior team as the girls maneuvered plays given to them by their coaches. But, the seniors struggled to cover ground and eventually lost to the sophomores and juniors.
Unlike the disappointment of the seniors, the men’s drill team was thrilled to perform. Fans described it as one of the best performances they have ever seen. Taylor Jolley, senior, describes his performance as, “An experience never to be forgotten, and always to be engraved upon those who’ve witnessed it. Life defining.”
Adam Aarif, senior, adds, “You know, men’s drill is one of those things that feels like a joke. But, then you get involved in it and you realize that while it is funny, it’s also incredibly awesome.”
Thursday– Agora and Mini-Olympics
Agora is a Greek term to describe an ancient Greek marketplace. In Olympus High’s Agora, Olympus’s clubs, teams, and other organizations sell apparel or food to raise money for their group or activities. Some of the hot ticket items included the student body officers’ “Olympus Titans” sunglasses, Debate team’s Otter Pops, Graphic’s stickers, Boy’s Lacrosse Team’s mustaches socks, and Drama Club’s Toaster Strudel’s.
In honor of the recent Olympics, Homecoming Committee organized a mini-Olympics. Events included wrestling and discus toss simplified to arm wrestling and Frisbee distance throwing contest. Event finals took place in the pep assembly on Friday.
Friday –Toga Day, Pep Assembly, Torch Run, Football Game
The student body was encouraged to wear togas on Friday. The pep-assembly was fashioned after a“closing ceremonies.” Representatives from each grade performed a “flag ceremony” with a class flag. Featured performers included the Vocal Ensemble, outfitted in their matching togas. They sang a medley of songs, including the song “September.” Ironically, the song mentions the 21stof September, the day the Ensemble sang. “It felt so special being a senior singing “September” on the 21stin the building that we will cherish forever. It was a true moment of Titan Pride!” Whitney Wilde, senior, describes.
An impressive combined dance number by Dance Company, Drill, and the cheerleaders followed the Ensemble performance. “[This number] definitely strengthened us individually and unified us as a whole,” Diana Harden, senior, describes. Men’s drill performed again after interspersed finals for the mini-Olympics and other pep-games. Homecoming Royalty was announced. For crowns, the boys wore gold wreaths while the girls wore wreaths of real flowers and ivy. Royalty included:
Homecoming Queen: Whitney Back
First Attendant: Eden Neff
Second Attendant: Amanda Jenkins
Homecoming King: True Demille
First Attendant:Mickey Rudolph
Second Attendant: Stephen Pinnock
The pep assembly concluded with a medal ceremony and slideshow of Olympus sports teams and recent stomps. The medals were sparkiling emerald, sliver, and white “Hook-Os,” Olympus’s signature.
Homecoming would not be complete without a Torch Run. However, this year’s torch run was more remarkable than in years past, Josh Wright and Tyler Walter, seniors, vowed to revive the tradition of starting the torch run at the top of Mount Olympus. This strenuous hike gains 4200 feet in 3.2 miles for a 6.4 mile round trip hike and about six to eight hours walking time. Keeping true to their vow, these two strong and adventurous young men raced after school to complete this daunting task. They achieved their goal. They made it up and down the mountain in three hours and 35 minutes, cutting nearly three hours from their usual time. Tyler says,“Going up was invigorating…and coming down I literally was flying.”
Josh adds, “It [was] tiring, but really neat to be the first [in recent years] to follow through with it.”
The other torch runners met at Olympus Hills Park and took turns running the torch down to Olympus High School. Student Body President, True Demille ran the final stretch with the torch. He slowly climbed the ladder leading to the torch and ignited the flame that burned for the remainder of the night.
During the Olympus Titan vs. Murray Spartan game, the Titans finished the first half strong. The half time show consisted of the combined dance number and men’s drill. The Homecoming royalty also rounded the track on their decorated tandem bicycles. The second half of the game revealed an overwhelming victory for the Olympus Titans at 34-14.
At the conclusion of the game, the Olympus student section (O-Zone) sat down and the exhausted and elated football team gathered around the stands. The vocal Ensemble sang the school hymn to the hushed O-Zone and team. All of those in earshot of the hymn seemed to be encircled in Titan Pride and standing as one.
Saturday – “Forever Young” Dance
The dance looked like a dream. Tea lights, wrapped trees, and white tulle wove down the staircase into the decorated courtyard behind Olympus High School. The student body was mesmerized by the criss-crossing white lights, lanterns, and balloons hanging overhead. White lights and tulle encircled the trees and delicate white, sliver, and green balloons wrapped around the light posts. The dance was an overwhelming success, like the other events throughout Homecoming week at Olympus High.“I think Homecoming Week brings a certain school spirit that isn’t always there. It’s so cool to see how the student council and [Homecoming] Committee can team up and incorporate the student body in so many fund and unique ways. The effort put into it is so so much more than you’d ever think, but what we get back from it makes it all worthwhile. Our Homecoming Week was a huge success, and we were able to have such a fun time with our fellow school mates while being able to incorporate our school’s history and legends. It really was a rad experience,” concludes True Demille, Student Body President.