Sidwell Friends Community Celebrates Homecoming Weekend

In the week leading up to Homecoming on Oct. 16, the Student Association of School Spirit (SASS) and Student Government organized its annual Spirit Week. 

According to senior Olivia O’Donnell, a co-head of SASS, the goal of the week was to spark a sense of “community and joy” among students and faculty by “running lunch activities, organizing spirit week themes and planning the pep rally.”

Students were excited by the opportunity to wear pajamas to school on Monday, their favorite team’s jersey on Wednesday and Wild West-themed clothing on Thursday. Lunchtime activities, such as watching “The Smurfs” and pumpkin painting, also drew a crowd. 

“[Spirit Week] makes the energy around campus even more enjoyable, and it truly brings everyone in the community together,” said junior Chali Taylor.

The week ended with a Quaker Day, a day where students engage in community-building activities instead of classes. This Quaker Day, students competed in various Student Government-led activities and games, participated in a pie-eating contest and watched sports teams perform group dances at the pep rally. 

The week’s activities helped energize the community before Homecoming. This year’s Homecoming marked the first time the entire Sidwell Friends community, including all students, faculty, fully vaccinated alumni and family members, could celebrate together since the pandemic began. 

“Homecoming is one of the days where Lower School, Middle School and Upper School come together, so the campus feels different,” said sophomore Anya Capoor. “It is always a really great day, and everyone has a smile on their face. I really missed that last year.”

In addition to cheering on Sidwell’s sports teams, others were excited to support Sidwell’s clubs by visiting their Homecoming booths. 

Sophomore Kidist Getachew expressed her excitement around visiting “stands hosting fun activities” and “buying the delicious food” that clubs sold. 

At the end of the day, Upper School students attend the annual Homecoming dance. After a school-wide vote, SASS announced the winning theme as “Awards Show.”

As part of Sidwell tradition, each grade dresses as a different part of the Homecoming theme. Freshmen played the role of paparazzi by wearing black, sophomores represented the red carpet in red, juniors symbolized the Oscars by decking themselves out in gold and seniors dressed as celebrities.

In previous years, only upperclassmen wore formal clothing, while the underclassmen wore informal clothing. This year, however, all students were encouraged to wear informal clothing, as SASS attempted to build a more egalitarian Homecoming environment. Additionally, the dance was held outside to accommodate pandemic protocols.

Students were enthusiastic about coming to Homecoming after months of missing out on experiences due to the pandemic. 

Taylor said that he was “super excited for the dance because it is always a great time to dress up in your theme.” 

“It is so much fun being around everyone and dancing, as well as coming to all the games on Saturday to support your friends on all the sports teams,” he added.

The spirit of Homecoming week brought a sense of community to Sidwell students. “It [was] wonderful to be back on campus for Quaker day and Homecoming after far too long,” concluded junior Elson Bankoff.