HOCO prep: what goes on behind the scenes


Alan Herzberg

Amidst the cheers of fellow court members and the students section, Hannah Sternberg (’19) is crowned queen. “Good for her,” remarked Malcom Balles (’19), “she deserved it.” Cole Nau was later crowned king. From left to right: Jack Anderson (’19), Drew Lesczynski (’19), Hannah Sternberg (’19), Malcom Balles (’19), Hanna Li (’19).

Elianne del Campo and Leah Cape

As you enter the gym on Homecoming night, the entrance is filled with decorations that set the mood for the theme. Lights and music surround the gym, adding to the dance atmosphere, urging everyone to have an amazing night singing and dancing. However, what no one really sees is all of the preparation and behind-the-scenes work that many students put in to make the dance a worthwhile experience.

To get a better sense of the work put into the dance, Ellianne del Campo, the Tyro Editorials Editor, interviewed Student Council senior Emma Fox:

Q: How long does it take to plan everything? (the songs, the theme, etc…)

A: This year it probably took about 2-3 weeks total to have everything planned, and maybe a month and a half to execute it. We come up with the theme right after the previous dance ends, so we chose “Disney” right after the 2018 Spring Fling dance.

Q: When do you start prepping?

A: We start planning and prepping weeks, sometimes months, in advance. Little things like tablecloths and paint we order probably three weeks prior to actually using them. However, we start putting everything together and making the decorations about two weeks before the dance.

Q: Who is in charge of choosing the songs?

A: This year, for songs, we decided to take requests from students by sending out a link on Twitter. From there, I listened to 200+ requests on a long car ride from La Crosse, and eliminated the songs I knew Mr. Gruetzmacher would never allow at a school sanctioned event. Then, I sent the link to Mr. Gruetzmacher, who also eliminated some songs, until we had the list down to about 50 song requests to send in to Mr. Fuch’s friend, who is the DJ every year.

Q: Before the dance, how long does it take to set everything up?

A: We go in the morning before the dance and hang all of the banners, set up all of the tables and decorations, and put all of the finishing touches on what people are going to see. The morning before this dance, we did that for probably around 3 hours, which is actually significantly shorter than it usually is!

Q: What is the most enjoyable part of planning the dance?

A: I think the most enjoyable part of planning dances is the end product. Walking through the hallway one last time after you spend weeks of hard work prepping for this dance and seeing the finished product is such a cool feeling. It makes up for all the late nights painting banners!

While the dance requires months in advance of preparation, the banner making portion of Homecoming takes place the week of. Many hours of hard work are put into the large signs, with volunteers scrambling to complete such a huge task on time. This year, one of the major contributors to the junior class banner, Nicole Yang (‘20), was interviewed by Tyro reporter Leah Cape (‘20) to provide insight on the process:

Q: How many hours were put into making the banner, and what part took the most time?

A: For the banner, we had to gather our supplies and polish our idea for it since we still weren’t completely sure of it. That took about two hours. Making the banner itself took about six hours. I think the Mickey and Minnie drawings that Bobbie Knopp created took the most time because they had to be sketched first, then painted, and they were pretty big.

Q: How did your group decide what they wanted the banner to look like?

A: We decided on how we wanted the wall to look like by gathering ideas from other people like having a “Disney junior(s)” theme because we are juniors. The day of, the planning of the wall was a little rough because our idea changed completely, so we were back to square one. We eventually decided to keep it simple and make it Minnie and Mickey.

Q: Was there anything specifically tricky to create on the poster?

A: The tricky part of making the banner was coming up with an idea and how we were going to lay the decorations out on the wall. There was also a problem of not enough people there during certain time intervals, so for a couple hours it was only two or three people making the wall.

Q: How many people contributed to making the junior banner?

A: There were about ten people who helped with the wall overall. Like I said before, we had some problems in the beginning with no one really there but more people started showing up to help near the middle and end.