On a balmy Friday evening in mid-November, Harker’s Saratoga campus and Davis Field were lit up for Homecoming and filled with color, pomp and excitement. Despite riding high on a 7-2 record going in and giving their best efforts, the Harker Eagles, plagued by injuries to starters, had their worst outing all season in the actual game, losing 57-8, but the crowd supported their team all the way.
As a K-12 school, Harker’s annual Homecoming is unique and involves the entire community. Spirit week led up to the game and featured hijinks on all three campuses including rallies and visits by varsity players to the lower school, the classic dress-up days at the middle school and a full schedule at the upper school starting with the painting of the class eagles and culminating in the tug-of-war tug-off at halftime.
At game time, under the Davis Field lights, Harker won the toss and Valley Christian-Dublin took the kickoff. On the first play VC-D ran for their first touchdown, adding two more TDs before the end of the first quarter. Harker’s Chris McCallaCreary, grade 12, scored and classmate Greg Cox ran in the two-point conversion to put Harker on the board, but that was the end of Harker’s offensive success. Speaking about the whole season, coach Karriem Stinson said, “I am really proud of what this team has done. They are the tightest group I’ve ever been around and I’m really proud to have coached them.”
Off the field, however, the fun preceded the games (JV lost, as well, after a tough fight) and kept going throughout, including multiple cheers by the Eaglets, the littlest Eagles; musical blasts, including “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath, from the Harker Jazz Band; constant spirit-building from the Harker cheer squad; and a mid-field routine by the Varsity dancers as Mad Hatters performing to a song inspired by the Alice Wonderland movie, under Laura Rae, director of the upper school dance program.
Away from the field, groups were congregating at their rallying points, including a great turnout in the alumni area under their own pavilion on the northeast corner of the field near Singh Aquatic Center. The senior class and Eagle Buddies had food and fun gatherings in the parking lot between Rosenthal Field and the main academic building, bounce houses were on Rosenthal Field and there were various food booths, including one (funnel cakes) staffed by performing arts students and parents to raise funds for a trip to the Fringe Festival next fall.
Just prior to the game the Eaglets did their now-traditional fly-through, then lined up with the older cheerleaders to form a passage for the varsity team to take the field. The halftime tug-of-war result is in doubt as one team had too many players on the rope, but a decision will be forthcoming or a rematch will be held!
The homecoming court was also introduced at halftime and was made up of freshmen Andrew Wang and Claudia Tischler, sophomores Rohit Agarwal and Tiphaine Delepine, juniors Jason Kuan and German exchange student Julia Lambertz; and seniors Amanda King, Brianna Tran, Ben Tien and Santosh Swaminathan, with Greg Cox and Anisha Agarwal, also of the Class of 2011, named king and queen.
“Juniors turned Shah into a pirate-themed still-life portrait complete with Davy Jones and treasure chests filled with doubloons,” said Jason Berry, English teacher and assistant spirit coordinator. “Seniors decorated the campus with clever references to Harry Potter (the 2011 class theme for Homecoming). To close the week’s spirited activities, the senior class hosted the Homecoming dance, cleverly interweaving the classes’ themes with cute decorations and streamers, turning Nichols into a veritable dance hall menagerie,” said Berry.
“Overall school spirit was amazing!” said Kerry Enzensperger, student activities coordinator. “Classes took it upon themselves to decorate Shah, Dobbins and Main Hall; I would like to thank the class spirit officers for all their hard work!”
Photos for the slide show were provided by Ashley Batz, Winged Post/Talon photographers and Robert Boucher.