The Student News Site of Homewood High School

The Homewood Tricorne

The Student News Site of Homewood High School

The Homewood Tricorne

The Student News Site of Homewood High School

The Homewood Tricorne

“Tradition culture” creates community in Homewood

Mary Clare Ingram
Students Megan Brown, Emily Villanueva, Anna Blakely Thompson and Cameron Samford “jamming” alongside band director Mackenzie Owens at Pinson Valley.

Dating back to Homewood High School’s founding in 1972, tradition has been a defining feature of the school. Some 30 years old and some brand new, traditions fill the halls of HHS.

“They help connect us to our past and make us a part of something,” said HHS Principal Dr. Joel Henneke. 

The Homewood Patriot Marching Band accounts for the majority of these traditions. 

Chris Cooper, the HPMB director, says that every other school’s band changes their uniforms every five to 10 years, but Homewood has had the same uniforms since its founding.

The Star-Spangled Girls and band have looked the same since the 1970s, maintaining the patriotic George Washington general style for 51 years.

“I’ve had other band directors tell me there’s just a certain swagger about the Homewood band uniform,” he said. “It’s just what makes us different.”

A long-standing tradition among the students of the band is senior tears. 

The iconic sparkly tear drop stickers can be found on the faces of band and SSG seniors every Friday night– a tradition dating back to the ‘80s – uniting the seniors for a final year of band.  

Not only are there widespread traditions among the band, but each instrument section has its own student-made traditions. 

On Friday mornings before select football games, the roughly 70-member saxophone section meets at Waffle House at 6 a.m. to eat breakfast together ahead of the big day. 

Caleb Flores, head saxophone section leader, said that they always have breakfast before the first game of the season and then play kickball at the softball fields before school, this being the day that the greatest number of section members show up. 

Beyond their Waffle House takeovers, the saxophone players have a lesser-known tradition: sporks. These sporks serve as a memento of their membership in the section.

“Each member of the section receives a spork – so theoretically you get four throughout your high school career,” Flores said. 

Similarly, the trombone section goes to Purple Onion for breakfast the mornings before home football games. 

Head trombone section leader, Kenneth Wang, said the tradition began with Keefer Boone and Davis Bunn who were in the graduating class of 2019. 

“Jam” is a long-standing tradition that began when the HHS drumline first played their routine in front of the student section, and it was a hit. 

“The next thing I know, it became a thing,” Cooper said. 

He even said that other schools in the area have adopted traditions similar to “jam” after seeing Homewood’s. 

“Jam” extends far outside the band, with both the high school and middle school playing it at the conclusion of pep rallies, every student rocking back and forth in unison. Football players, cheerleaders, band members, Star Spangled Girls and the student section participate together at the end of pep rallies and after half-time of football games. 

Emi Musaalo, an HHS alumnus who graduated in 2016, admires the sense of community that “jam” brings to the student body.

Rubber duck on cheerleader megaphone at Pinson Valley football game. (Mary Clare Ingram)

“I loved jamming with the cheer squad after halftime and singing the alma mater with the football team and the student section at the end of each game,” she said.

The cheerleaders have their own array of traditions throughout the year. 

At each game, the varsity cheerleaders receive rubber ducks from the cheer captains, the ducks resembling the dress-up day. 

This tradition began following the tragic death of former Homewood cheerleader Caitlin Creed in a car accident. Her favorite animal was a duck, so the cheerleaders honor her each week with a duck on their cheer megaphones. 

At the Homecoming pep rally, the cheerleaders wear matching overalls for the “overall victory” dress-up day, and ride tricycles into the gym for the pep rally – dating all the way back to before the 2000s.

Then, during their floor routine, they perform the infamous “splat.” 

“Splat is definitely unique and something that takes practice,” said Cheer Captain Sadie Rowell. 

HHS is full of traditions that are anywhere from five to 50 years old, but in the past two years,  many new ones have been created.

The band playing Buglers Dream when the football team scores a touchdown has been brought back to Waldrop Stadium by Cooper for the first time since 2000. 

For the band’s 50th anniversary, Cooper got a “hype drum,” allowing Lettermen to go down to the track and hit it at points during games.

“It was my way to try to get more cohesiveness between the student section, the band and the cheerleaders,” Cooper said. “We’re all on the same team, all hyping for each other.”

Cooper said that rather than doing exactly what previous band directors Pat Morrow and Ron Pence did, he kept some of the old traditions and brought in his own.

Since Henneke took over HHS as principal, he has instated his own traditions as well.

Most mornings at the start of 2nd period, following the pledge of allegiance, Henneke delivers his “two words of the day.” 

Beginning this daily tradition when students returned to school in 2021, Henneke started coming up with two words to segway into his message for the day. He aims to forge a connection between himself and the students of HHS as well as to relay messages about events, accomplishments and changes around the school. 

“I think my first two words were dress code,” he said.

Henneke now even incorporates two words into his speech at graduation.

“Traditions make our school better because we embrace them,” said Henneke. “We maintain the things with integrity the things that we think are important… to be able to pass that on to whoever comes next.”

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