An inside look at the stresses of planning homecoming?
By: Mia Sawma
ASB students and coordinators willing to step up and face the criticism of high schoolers face a daunting task in planning homecoming. Though difficulties exist in creating this dance, each person involved has a special tale of the fulfillment they get from this unique experience.
Assistant Principal Irvin Castañeda holds safety as the number one priority throughout the start of spirit week to the homecoming dance. He attempts to establish a worthwhile experience for the students. He ensures that the location is secure and the planning that is being done is safe and helps with anything that is beyond their control and abilities.
Homecoming planning differentiates in the conditions that are needed, but event planning will always rely on safety and positive experiences. According to Castañeda, homecoming is not the easiest event to plan but in comparison to events like graduation, it’s much easier. In the previous years where newer kids were involved with homecoming planning, Castañeda was much more engaged and would ask day to day questions about decorations and other details.
Castañeda enjoys working with ASB because of the drive and leadership these student displays. He encourages students by guiding their creativity throughout the process of planning. Working with kids on positive events such as homecoming is rewarding because he gets to see how their abilities grow and how they come out of their shells. Watching these kids become leaders is the most worthwhile thing to Castañeda.
ASB coordinator Jacinto Garcia has also had his fair share of homecomings to plan. One thing that he always encourages his students to keep in mind is the fact that not everyone will always be pleased. To make everyone happy is hard to do, so he stresses that homecoming planning should be about putting their best foot forward.
“Something that we always expect is that we can’t always make everyone happy. That’s why I always stress to the kids to make around 2,000 students happy is a tough thing to do,” explained Garcia. “All we can do is do the best we can and to know that there will always be people that are going to hate on you and have nothing better to do than to complain.”
This year many were upset about the theme, and while some came to Garcia about their complaints others resorted to commenting under the ASB Instagram page. To help incorporate the entire student body, ASB had decided to choose the top three most voted for ideas and place them in a poll that was then posted on their Instagram page.
Despite such difficulties, the most rewarding aspect of leadership centers on connections made throughout the years. These connections would not have been made if it had not been for ASB. Come time for graduation, the students staying grieve the loss of those moving on. Garcia sees the students as more of a family and watching them grow and evolve from how they were when he first met them is moving.
For ASB staffer Michelle Plascencia, the day of homecoming is a long one. Saturday morning all of ASB will come in at 6 a.m. to decorate the big gym and leave only when everything is cleaned up. The attempt to make everything as perfect as possible is stress-inducing to those planning the homecoming dance.
While it may look like not a lot of effort, behind the scenes tells a different story. All of staff must work around the chosen theme using the planned budget. While it is no easy task to find decorations, music, and food, ASB is left to set up this entire night with little support from their peers.
“Even when we received all the hate it was manageable to get through because ASB became kind of like a family. We knew what we were getting into. We knew that there would be stressful weeks of planning, days where we would stay up for most of the night, and mornings where we would have to wake up at the crack of dawn.” explains Plascencia. “We knew what we were getting into and yet the feeling of pain and stress were overshadowed by the ability to see an event that was once an idea come to life.”
ASB gave Plascencia the ability to get out of her comfort zone. It forced her to attend every event and work behind the scenes. She had no idea what she was getting into; she thought all she had to do was make a couple of posters and attend school events. But she was wrong. The commitment of ASB could not be abandoned or pushed to the side. Even though there are times where the going gets tough and most would rather leave, Plascencia wouldn’t change it for the world. At this point, all the stress of planning and running around has become a part of her.
“Sometimes it definitely gets hard, when I saw the Instagram comments… I was angry and defensive. Part of that is because I care since the people in charge of this event were really excited and they worked really hard for it to be an event for everyone to enjoy. We tried our best… so to see all the hurtful comments can be really discouraging. But I made a commitment and I intend to keep it.”