A twist on tradition

Reflecting on altered homecoming festivities

Senior+Arman+Persaud+thanks+the+crowd+after+being+named+Mr.+Raider+2020+at+the+Canyon+Randall+football+game+on+Nov.+20.

Rene Banda

Senior Arman Persaud thanks the crowd after being named Mr. Raider 2020 at the Canyon Randall football game on Nov. 20.

Manasvi Reddy, Editor-In-Chief

As the beginning of the 2020-21 school year approached and local coronavirus cases continued to rise, senior class sponsor Alisha Crouch was fearful that age-old Rider traditions would be called off entirely. 

“I know how much the kids look forward to Rider vs. Old High Week,” she said. “I was worried that they (administration) would say ‘nothing at all.’”

Fast-forward to the end of the semester, homecoming week was divided into Rider vs. Old High in October and Round Up in November, with gatherings such as The Happening, class breakfasts, the dance and pep rallies being cancelled. The changes made for a rivalry week unlike any other, but some students felt that the unusual nature of the festivities hindered school spirit to some degree.

“It was still meaningful because we’re seniors,” said Page Montgomery, a 2020 Miss Raider nominee. “It was just kind of dulled down. I feel like less people took it seriously.”

To accommodate safety protocols, student organizations proceeded with hallway decorating, held Mum Day and dress-up days, played music between passing periods, created two virtual pep rallies with as many traditional elements as possible and announced Mr. and Miss Raider nominees at the Canyon Randall football game on Nov. 20. 

“I feel like the school did a great job at making the students feel involved in the traditions as best as they could while still social-distancing and making it safe,” 2020 Mr. Raider Arman Persaud said.

Though Homecoming 2020 was missing major elements of traditional Rider rivalry week, it was the pieces of tradition, such as the annual elaborate hallway decorations, that welcomed a sense of normalcy on campus for the first time in months for many.

“I think in some ways it kind of helped us come back to our norm, even though it wasn’t what we normally do,” Crouch said. “I think that they (the students) were just thankful and enjoyed the things that we did get to do.”

Crouch is hopeful that some gatherings like class breakfasts can be attempted once more in the spring if COVID is less prevalent in the community. She also disclosed that announcing Mr. and Miss Raider nominees on the football field, playing music in the halls and even splitting up Rider vs. Old High and Round Up into two weeks could potentially make comebacks in the future, depending on decisions made by next year’s senior class officers. 

However, while some of this year’s changes might be implemented in the coming years, the hope is to have an ideal homecoming week, gatherings and all, by next fall.

“Though it was different, it was definitely meaningful because I know administration and all of us tried really hard,” Montgomery said. “It was successful, and it meant a lot because….we made the best with what we had.”