Spectators arrived in droves to the upper school campus’ Davis Field for this year’s Homecoming, attended by families – both new and returning — from all of Harker’s four campuses.
Even though it occurred at a much earlier date than usual, and with slightly warmer weather, the event still retained the atmosphere that has made it a favorite with the Harker community. Prior to the game, early arrivals enjoyed food prepared by Harker parents at the parking lot tailgate area and by Harker’s kitchen staff, who served various dishes from the Mrs. Carley’s Café trailer, now a beloved tradition of every Homecoming. Grade 9 students sold pizza, sodas and candy to raise funds for various projects and spirit activities.
Younger attendees, meanwhile, had a blast at Rosenthal Field, where several bounce houses were set up so they could jump to their heart’s content. Others played schoolyard games and tossed Frisbees and footballs back and forth.
Back at Davis Field, onlookers enjoyed watching the first of two tug-of-war contests, with grade 10 defeating the Class of 2017. Spectators then watched performances by the lower school’s junior cheer squad and the upper school’s varsity dancers. Harker’s upper school jazz band, led by Chris Florio, also performed throughout the evening from their perch overlooking the field from the bleachers.
As the contest between Harker and Mount Pleasant drew nearer, the crowd enjoyed one of Homecoming’s most anticipated traditions, the Eaglets’ “Fly Through,” with lower school students adorned in eagle costumes performing a dance routine to the familiar strains of Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like an Eagle.”
Shortly after the Harker Eagles burst through the Gauntlet of Spirit, flanked by members of Harker’s various cheer teams, singers from the lower, middle and upper school campuses gathered mid-field for a rousing version of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” directed by Jennifer Sandusky.
As the Eagles faced off against Mount Pleasant, the festivities continued both on the field and in the tailgate area. While the boosters in the stands cheered on their Eagles, Harker alumni in attendance met and reminisced in the special alumni area and parents socialized, while students relished the opportunity to spend more time with their friends.
“I like how there’s a lot of spirit and happiness,” said Angele Yang, grade 6. “It’s really fun and you can meet all of your friends, and it’s really fun to watch the game.”
Come halftime, the upper school cheer squad took to the field to entertain the crowd, and the Class of 2014 bested the juniors in the final tug-of-war contest of the year.
Upper school math teacher Victor Adler, dean of the class of 2014, then introduced this year’s Homecoming Court, who circled the field before the announcement of Adithram Rengaramchandran, grade 12, and Renu Singh, grade 11, as this year’s Homecoming King and Queen.
Although Harker lost the game 52-26 to Mount Pleasant, those in attendance still enjoyed the time spent bonding with other members of the community. “A lot of fun things go on. A lot of kids are having fun, so it’s a great event,” said parent Kim Hailey (Chris, grade 9). “A lot of great people and parents are at the school, and it’s good for them to get together.”