Homecoming: ‘I Believe’ we won

November 22, 2011

By Samantha Garrard

Samantha Garrard Issaquah High School

Many have written about Issaquah High School’s homecoming and the students who were suspended or expelled due to underage drinking. What hasn’t been covered is the immense success the week brought to the student body and the greater community.

The overall theme of this year’s homecoming was “I Believe,” and more specifically “I Believe That We Can Beat Cancer.” The idea was to allow students to think beyond themselves and help the greater community. Homecoming wasn’t a one-day event; it was a weeklong Spirit Week that will have a permanent positive effect.

“A week that would usually be ‘all about me’ was now changed to ‘all about someone else,’” Principal Paula Phelps said.

Several fundraisers that week promoted the fight against cancer. The Associated Student Body sold hot pink T-shirts that promoted breast cancer awareness with proceeds going to help fight breast cancer. The ASB also encouraged students to “Boycott the Boutonniere” and instead purchase a breast cancer awareness ribbon to wear.

“Officers for the student body are always trying to unite their student body, make our school a fun place to be and serve our community, but this year they took it to an amazing level,” said Tim Baynes, the ASB teacher.

The week of positive donations and spirit wear led to the game and dance. Students participated in a “Pink Out,” again an effort to support breast cancer. The halftime show alone featured about 250 students. Students were given glow sticks and as the lights went out each student was asked to crack his or her glow stick in an effort to remember or honor someone who is struggling or has struggled through cancer. It was an act that showed that Issaquah High School does not just value its football players and cheerleaders; everyone is valued and everyone can participate.

“People were amazed by the crowd. Even the opposing team, Newport High School, thanked us for including them,” Phelps said.

About 1,100 students attended the dance, about 300 more students than previous years. Most students stayed through the entire dance, and enjoyed the music, dancing, photographs and a photo booth.

“I saw students who typically struggle to rally behind typical spirit days and events get wholeheartedly behind the ‘I believe’ theme,” Baynes said. “I saw Issaquah students think selflessly, and experiencing the joy of giving and honoring something bigger than themselves, rather than just consuming and glorifying one another.”

Yes, a bus driver is in serious trouble for providing alcohol to minors, but Issaquah students raised $6,500 for the greater community.

“I believe what happened at homecoming week cannot just happen anywhere,” Phelps said.

She also said the theme was not just “I Believe,” but was “I Belong.”

It’s disappointing how a few teenagers’ poor decisions can overshadow a successful positive event.

“I Believe” we really did win!

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