Way back Wednesday: homecoming edition

Every Wednesday, Taylor Shelfo will be uncover interesting finds in the West Side Story archives in her weekly column.


Taylor Shelfo, Broadcast Anchor

Welcome to the West Side Story’s first ever Way Back Wednesday. Every Wednesday we will be posting articles from past WSS papers that either relate to what’s going on at West now, or are just too exciting/bizarre that they had to be shared. This Saturday is homecoming, so we thought it would be appropriate to kick off WBW with some inspiring things from past homecomings.

Let’s begin with the year 1969. This was the first year that West decided to vote for homecoming queens at the dance, rather than the weekend before so that votes were only from people that attended the dance. The Wednesday before (Oct. 8), the homecoming nominees held a Q&A session during an assembly so everyone could get the proper info before voting. Nowadays, we just nominate someone and that’s it – I definitely think it’s more fun to see people compete for the actual crown, not just a title. Though West still holds the typical homecoming game the Friday night before the dance, back in the 70s they started homecoming festivities Thursday until seventh hour until dark. This really brought the whole school together, in my opinion.

In 1969, the activities included chariot races and lunch box auctions. The chariot races were played separately by boys and girls and a winner from each gender got to kiss Mr. Ferguson as their reward. (I’m not sure who that is, but dang that’s a dope prize.) The lunchbox auctions were held by girls who made lunches and whoever bought the lunch got to eat with her. It then ended with a car/float parade from City Park to West, a massive bonfire and junior-performed skits in the parking lot of West.

One year later, the seven queens compete in a pie eating contest and tug of war. West got a little stingy this year and the prize for the traditional car show was just a piece of bubblegum – but it’s still such a fun idea to have a parade. The bonfire however was ignited by a contest in each class to see who could bring in the most cardboard – I can’t imagine how LIT that night was.

Aside from the celebrations (which we don’t have anymore and I’m actually super bummed because it could really bring our student body together), the dances were totally different, too.

Until 2004, every dance was held in the cafeteria with live music. Live music would be way better than the instrumental mixes they play at our homecoming. Also, the dances went from 9pm – 12 am and homecoming king and queen were crowned with actual crowns – what a time to be alive! The dances were also themed every year (which we should definitely bring back). 1970 was “Wild, Wild, West,” 1971 was “Mother Goose Goes West” (not quite sure what that is) and my personal favorite, “My Big Fat Greek Homecoming” in 2004. The hit movie just came out and the Olympics were held in Greece.
We hope you enjoyed the first Way Back Wednesday and we’ll see you next week for another blast from the past. Have a great time at homecoming this year!