CHS gets creative naming homecoming court

Much attention goes to Claremont High School’s annual homecoming game, where the stakes are high and the homecoming queen is crowned, and to the much-anticipated dance that follows.

There is another traditional homecoming staple, however, for which CHS students and staffers pull out all of the stops—and the creeps and ghouls.

The Memorial Park bandshell stage was decorated for the ceremony, held last Friday afternoon, with a mural featuring a shelf of eerie potions plus an arch of purple, white and black helium balloons. The mood was set with music ranging from the “Halloween” theme to the Haunted Mansion’s “Grim Grinning Ghosts” when MC Mina Bloom took the stage in costume and character as a witch.

Mina, a CHS thespian, had a shrill greeting for the audience, “Hello, my pretties.” The homecoming princesses, clad in vivid-hued dresses, were, indeed, looking pretty when Mina introduced them. Princesses included tennis player Joyce Kim, basketball player Heather Hill, tennis player and speech team participant Madison Weigand and track athlete Annikah Good, who would be named homecoming queen later that evening.

After performances by the Wolfgang hip hop dance team and CHS cheerleaders, it was time for the moment of truth.

Mina, who had a clever rhyme describing each student dignitary, introduced the homecoming princes with a flourish. The court included CHS thespian Scotty Jacobson, chamber singer and comedy sports champ Jonah Cicon, volleyball maven Stephen Zetterberg and Wolfpack basketball player Shabeer Siddiqui.

Mina conducted a ceremony in which each boy, in turn, was given an oversized key to use in an oversized “lock” affixed to the door leading from the band-shell stage. After a moment of theatrical fiddling with the cardboard lock, with the “witch” urging them to hurry—“Faster, faster. I will roast you!”—she announced that each hopeful was, unfortunately, in possession of the wrong key. There was one court member, however, whose key fit, granting him entry to the door.

Shabeer, who Mina introduced with a rhyme ending in, “I am Kobe Bryant and I grew up in Pakistan,” left the bandshell and returned wearing a red velvety cloak, ready to be crowned.

Although he didn’t expect the honor, Shabeer afterwards said of being king, “It feels majestic. It feels awesome.”

After the ceremony, it was time for the annual homecoming parade, a promenade around Memorial Park by 4 truck-pulled floats, each created by the respective members of the current CHS classes. Local architect Paul Wheeler, CHS class of ’71, headed the procession in his black 1915 ford.

“It’s hokey and it’s great. It’s homecoming,” Mr. Wheeler said.

There was a brief judging period for the floats, which each took a lurid Halloween theme and, as usual, the seniors won.

This year’s senior entry was emblazoned with a catchy phrase: “As the 13th hour draws near, we won’t forget the memories here.” On one side of the float students had created a graveyard with a looming, gnarled tree and gravestones denoting the classes of 2014, 2015 and 2016. On the other side was a tableau of a dance, where a werewolf and his skeleton lady prepare to hit the floor in a ballroom embellished with bloody handprints and portraits of a dead bride and an evil clown.

“I thought Mina did a great job,” said junior Melanie Gettler, whose class float took 2nd place. “She’s such a character. And we’re really proud of our king and queen.”

While she “really liked the freshman and sophomore floats,” the upperclassmen always do a particularly amazing job, Melanie said. “The older we get, we get more school spirit, and our floats get better and better.”

After the judging, a number of the proud float-makers, from fledgling freshmen on up, climbed onto the beds of the pickup trucks pulling their entries, embarking on the parade with all the enthusiasm associated with high-school homecoming.  

—Sarah Torribio


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