By Emma Tu and Alex Li
Resounding cheers welcome each student of Lynbrook High School as they run through a sea of baby blue thunder sticks waved by the Class of 2025. Running through this gauntlet marks the exhilarating start of homecoming week—an annual tradition of vibrant class performances, themed decorations, and a football game. This is by far the largest and the most time-consuming event at Lynbrook, where students dedicate entire afternoons and sacrifice sleep working up to the big day. The Lynbrook go-hard-or-go-home culture raises the question: is Homecoming really worth the effort?
From an audience’s perspective, Homecoming is magical; the campus transforms into various lands of creativity and imagination under different class themes. On the first day, the freshmen show off their Pokemon decorations; the second day holds the sophomore’s classic arcade games; the juniors take the third day with Disney characters, and the seniors end the week by presenting their take on the edge of reality.
Lynbrook’s class of 2023’s cardboard numbers depict the magical lantern scene from Rapunzel. (Image Credit: Emma Tu)
Once the brunch bell resounds through the campus, students rush to the quad to get a front row seat to Lynbrook’s over-the-top homecoming skit. During the performance, actors rile the crowd when Lynbrook defeats Monta Vista, Lynbrook’s high school rival at the football game. Dancers flood the stage intermittently with flashy dance moves, and students erupt in cheers to hype up the performing class on stage.
On Friday, Lynbrook students gather on the bleachers to support the Lynbrook football team in their largest home game of the season. Monta Vista students sit on the opposite set of bleaches. The game not only unifies Lynbrook High School, but also brings together the whole district through Lynbrook’s unique homecoming spirit. The exuberating experience of homecoming goes by as quickly as it comes, passing by like a fever dream.
Lynbrook on offense against Monta Vista at the football game. (Image Credit: Lynbrook ASB)
Leading up to the event, however, was months of skit rehearsals, sweaty morning dance practices, and grueling decoration (decs) meetings under the scorching sun.
“Decs meetings often shot past midnight and definitely started to crowd out my other responsibilities and my sleep schedule,” said senior class treasurer Ian Chen.
Hours of practice can also end up scrapped due to abrupt decisions by the school admin. This year, the song “Dadada” was removed from Junior class’ girls dance due to inappropriate lyrics after a full summer of choreographing and drilling. The girls were devastated that their efforts were wasted.
When this happened, girls dance choreographer Serenity Chu told the girls, “No matter what happens, homecoming will be irreplaceable. Just dance your heart out and have no regrets.”
Each year, classes are given just $400 to fund their entire Homecoming—hardly enough to buy painting supplies. Given this limiting budget, classes must employ various money saving tactics: they call hotels requesting old bedsheets, apply for tax deduction grants for companies willing to support them, and talk with Home Depot, a generous company that is willing to grant discounts.
“We had to call over 30 hotels to obtain bedsheets for our backdrop,” shared Nina Pan, President of the Class of 2025. Getting discounts and free supplies is easier said than done.
Not only does homecoming train practical skills, students are pushed to the brink of their physical limits. Nearing the big day, each class’ decorations team hosts an all nighter work session. Throughout the night, coffee cups are filled, cardboard is cut, and students watch as the last of their decorations are assembled. Dawn approaches as the tired yet fulfilled students collapse on the floor with beaming smiles.
Lynbrook’s class of 2023 builds Mater from Cars out of wood, cardboard, and spray paint. (Image Credit: Emma Tu)
Seeing how students exhaust themselves for homecoming, teachers and students alike return to the question: is homecoming worth this effort? For teachers, Lynbrook’s homecoming appears excessive and stressful, contradicting homecoming’s purpose of having fun. As such, admin calls for meetings every year to reduce the scale of homecoming, yet Lynbrook students always find a way to go above and beyond. Long practices foster friendships and a sense of accomplishment, as well as a rare opportunity for students to take their minds off school.
Annika Dhebar, coed dance choreographer for the Class of 2024, states, “Homecoming gave me the opportunity to meet people in my class and we all bonded like a mini family.”
In an environment where grades and competition divide students, homecoming fosters a positive learning environment that strengthens the Lynbrook community. The immense satisfaction of homecoming is thus felt from bringing out the class’ potential in a performance that exemplifies the unlimited possibilities of what a class can do.
Others may think it’s too much, but this work-hard-play-hard culture is what defines Lynbrook, as this spirit carries on in students’ future journeys. Homecoming defines Lynbrook High School’s unity and is truly like no other. Vikes on three! One! Two! Three! Vikes!