WHS takes the party outside

Warriors take to the football field for Homecoming revelry

Woodhaven High School celebrated the official return of homecoming with the pep assembly, but in a compromise to appease Covid restrictions, planners revisited an old tradition: holding the pep assembly on the football field.

For members of Student Council and school administration, moving the assembly outside was a gamble because Mother Nature is a bit indifferent to the party plans of humans, but she came through with a gorgeous day of sunshine and warmth that set the tone for the celebration to come.

The marching band welcomed students as they gathered in the bleachers. As the assembly began, the choir sang the national anthem and Senior Class President Lydia Sanders welcomed students, staff, and community members.

After the national anthem, senior Ashton Mohlman called his teammates to the field one by one in boisterous fashion, amping each other up for the celebration and the big game to follow.

As they wrapped up, the senior gentlemen of the homecoming court took to the field for the big event: the crowning of the king. Class of ’21 alum Evan Bliss returned to do the honors, and when he placed the crown on Aidan Kincaid’s head, Kincaid himself seemed most surprised.

“I didn’t expect to get on court, but it was honestly so cool that I did because it made me realize that I could make my senior year the best one yet.”

Next up, the cheerleaders defied gravity in unison with their stunt routine and the dance teams unveiled their newest dance moves before the enthusiastic crowd.

Students next lined up for the crowd favorite: the tug-of-war. The freshmen were quickly eliminated, the sophomores made a decent showing, and the juniors not only lost quickly, but lost spectacularly in a pile of laughter on the field. In the final bout, the teachers weren’t playing around when they lined up against the seniors.

The seniors thought they had it won, but the teachers seemed to channel their superhuman teacher powers and easily dragged the stunned seniors across the line. The teachers celebrated with high-fives, and in a demonstration of humility in victory, Mrs. G. danced around the field in circles, chanting, “woo-hoo…!”

With the tug-of-war settled, it was time for the Dance Off. Senior court member Jamie Sullivan rallied her dancers to bust a move, senior court member Nick Diaz got funky, the freshmen got in on the act, and crowd favorite Konya Walker worked the crowd, but in the end, newcomer Jonathan Padgett won the crowd with his fresh moves and his kind spirit. As he addressed the student body, Padgett said, “I know I’m not a very good dancer, but I want you to know that I love every one of you.” The crowd responded in an uproar of applause.

As the pep assembly wound down, it was time for the final match, blindfolded musical chairs. Football players Brandon Klimowicz, Emmanuel Johnson, Cornell Perry, and Devin Henry did their best but lost their seats, as did Freshman Prince Bryce White and cheerleaders Mackenzye Klimowicz, Precious Madison, Destiny Warren, Allison Lundgren, and Olivia Rusnak. Ava Faraone almost made the final round before being caught standing when the music stopped. In the end, senior Mikeila Martinez’s quick moves landed her in the winner’s seat.

For the final event, by the official rule of audience applause, Piper Barnhart — a vision in purple, dressed in a purple sparkling cowgirl hat with purple feathers, purple lei and beads, purple shirt belted in purple tulle, and a purple jacket worn over purple tights, black shorts, and purple fuzzy legwarmers — was crowned Spirit Queen. Barnhart’s purple, black, and white painted face beamed as Mrs. Siham Ganop placed the crown on her cowgirl hat.