Antlers adapt, celebrate homecoming

Homecoming 2020 events looked a little different this year for Tivy High School students, but students and staff worked hard to provide for a proper celebration. Tyler Smith and Ashlynn Way were named Homecoming King and Queen.

Homecoming at Tivy High School last week, culminating in a win in Antler Stadium, didn’t look quite the same this year.

But the students and teachers seemed to get into the spirit of the traditions, just the same.

Under COVID safety precautions, for both the KISD students and staff and the community that supports them, there was no colorful parade through downtown Kerrville – no floats or streamers on phone poles or the Antler Band providing the musical background, or parents on the curbs cheering for their sons and daughters.

Student Council sponsor/teacher Leigh Decker said it was the Student Council’s job to plan whatever they could plan, but they had to start with a list of what wasn’t going to work this year.

First on that list was, the parade downtown with community spectators wasn’t feasible.

Decker said it was Student Council secretary Cooper Cockrill who had an answer when she asked the group, “What can we do that the kids won’t hate?”

His suggestion was, a Homecoming Carnival on campus for the Tivy students who therefore could participate.

Borrowing ideas from past years, they designed a new 2020 Homecoming t-shirt to be sold.

They planned a traditional pep rally but only for students and staff, and everyone was to be screened as they entered.

At the two-hour Carnival, the Thursday evening before Friday’s game, each club and organization was asked to sponsor and plan a booth or game, and the event eventually included a sack race, cake walk, limbo contest, dunk tank with teacher “targets,” cotton candy, sno-cones, tennis, mini-basketball, soccer, hula hoops, dribbling basketballs, and other games and food items.

“They were all planned to be free except for the food items; and there were prizes to give out. The kids all just wanted to have fun,” Decker said.

Every student attending was to be given a punch card, she said, and if a student visited every booth at the Carnival, they were given prizes.

The Tivy High School PTO provided the prizes for that evening.

Pep rallies in general have had a different look at Tivy. They have been “socially distanced” with only essential participants in the stands – the Antler Band, Golden Girls, cheerleaders, dance teams and football team members. Teacher Lee Pool’s advanced audio-visual students formed an AV team to use school equipment to video each pep rally as it happens in the gym, and send the video “live” into each THS classroom for all the other students to view.

Principal Shelby Balser said last week that all the event planning under COVID went forward in many joint meetings and discussions.

“The students helped think of ways to get around the barriers. We all knew the parameters, and everybody thought about them and followed all the safety regulations.”

She said, about the parade, they knew there was no way to limit participation to 50 percent.

All these considerations were based on the multiple-page Safety Mitigation document issued at the beginning of school.

Once school started, the high school, for example, began to make decisions for their particular campus.

Other Homecoming activities

There still were club and organization “Sweethearts” chosen; and there was a Homecoming ceremony at Tivy Stadium before the football game.

T-shirt sales began at least two weeks before the football game.

Decker said the funds collected from the sales benefit a new “Tivy Trading Post” in the school, a collection of school supplies and hygiene supplies that are given free, as needed, to the students who request them.

“This service started at the beginning of the summer; and the money from the Homecoming shirt sales will help buy supplies for this ‘Trading Post’.”

Decker said out of the Student Council membership, there were about 70 students on the Homecoming planning committee.

“Even virtual students were asked to join the Student Council; and they voted along with everyone else on the ideas,” Decker said.

Decker has been teaching for 15 years, and Student Council sponsor for about six years. She also teaches two dual English classes through Alamo Colleges, plus two sophomore classes.

She said Tivy’s Senior Class still nominated the Homecoming King and Queen candidates; and the whole student body voted electronically, by their email addresses.

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