8The music booms. The lights blink along to the beat. High Schoolers jump accordingly, somewhat in sync with each lyric or beat drop. It’s hot, it’s sweaty and unlike anything students have experienced during the past one and a half years of the pandemic. For Juniors, homecoming brings back vague memories of their first high school dance, way back during Freshman year. Seniors are just happy they don’t have to miss any more High School milestones. However, for the Freshmen and Sophomores yet to experience a modern-day high school homecoming dance, the experience was somewhat eye-opening. High School is not like the movies or television shows. It is not what you read about in chapter books or hear about in songs. Most High Schoolers’ don’t even have lockers this year, a staple of any good coming-of-age romance you find online. There is no one way to describe high school, as everyone’s experiences differ. But there are collective experiences – such as a homecoming dance – that leave a mark on younger, seemingly more innocent underclassmen. As a Sophomore who missed most of the traditional High School experiences last year, Ava Spragins sums up her experience. “Hmmm … it was really chaotic and loud, and it sucked but not in a super bad way. It was also like a coming of age story kinda.” In her two sentences, Spragins captures much of the emotion those attending the dance felt. For some, the day consisted of gingerly applying makeup, curling hair, or straightening a tie in the afternoon, then posing for seemingly endless pictures at a golf course and eating fast food before standing in a slow-moving line at the dance. For others, the day consists of last-minute plans or decisions to go to the dance. There is nothing quite like Homecoming Week. This year, pent-up school spirit and teenage angst from the pandemic found the perfect outlet in the dance. Homecoming was not only a nice break from an endless cycle of sports, clubs, and homework, but it seemed to bring a divided High School together, at least for one night. And that is something hopefully even the class of 4023 will look forward to.