Mask up, South! This year’s “Masquerade” themed homecoming is set to look different than years past

Hafsa Rahman, staff writer

This week, South will be celebrating a “Masquerade” themed homecoming, although Covid-19 restrictions will cause the occasion to take a more non-traditional form, Mark Maranto, assistant principal of student activities, said. 

Each day, students are invited to dress up for spirit days, including Mardi Gras, Superhero, TV/Movie, Western and South’s school color themes. Drew Duffy, sophomore class president, said that the purpose of the central “Masquerade” theme is to incorporate masking-wear throughout this week’s events. 

“[Safety] is our top priority throughout this entire [event], so part of the theme will revolve around masks,” Duffy said. “That not only it enforces [the safety] aspect of it, but also makes it fun and encourages people to wear [masks].”

On Friday, April 9, Student Council will be hosting outdoor pep rallies in the conditional parking lot. In an effort to ensure social distancing, two separate pep rallies will occur; one for freshmen and sophomores at 3:35 p.m. and one for juniors and seniors at 5:45 p.m., Maranto said. 

“The pep assemblies are going to be big hype events,” Maranto said. “[There] is going to be music, a DJ, LED screens, videos and performance groups [such as] Poms and De La Cru.”

Pep rallies will be followed by the traditional homecoming football games. Freshmen and sophomores have the option to attend the Junior Varsity game at 4:30 p.m., whereas juniors and seniors will be allowed to watch the Varsity game against Maine South at 7 p.m..

This year, only 20 percent of the football stadium can be filled in order to comply with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) guidelines. Tickets will first be offered to football players’ families, and the remaining 500 tickets will be available to students on a first come first serve basis, Maranto said.

Although most homecoming events were modified to follow IDPH guidelines, Student Council announced that the homecoming dance, typically held on the following Saturday, would not be occurring for safety reasons. Junior Sarah Kim agreed with this decision, as she said the event could pose various health risks to students and staff. 

“I am still worried about people getting Covid-19 because not everybody has been vaccinated,” Kim said. “It would be very difficult to socially distance all of the students [at the dance]. While I feel bad for the seniors, there are also ways to have their own dances with their friends.”

Despite the numerous changes to this year’s homecoming, Olivia DeMattia, Student Council vice president, believed that it was crucial for the school to find ways to promote school spirit during these unprecedented times. 

“It’s not going to be like years past,” DeMattia said. “Nothing this year has been [normal but] we’re just trying to give students as much as we can. [We want to] give as much morale and spirit as we’re allowed to [and] provide as many events as we can this year.”