Homecoming goes virtual

ASB adapts to distance learning by showcasing homecoming via video announcements

In response to distance learning, the Oak Park High School Associated Student Body has  introduced Homecoming to the Friday Announcements. Although physical interaction is out of the question with the COVID-19 pandemic, ASB has been able to include games, ballots, trivia and much more for the students of OPHS, all while maintaining a virtual environment.

“So far we’ve tried to recreate the homecoming halftime show with trivia questions. This includes a couple’s trivia game. Couples showcase pictures and take pictures of themselves. We have allowed the senior class to have winners, which will soon be announced,” ASB freshman vice president Ella Homesley said.

Homesley revealed that while it took a lot of hands-on work from the student body, it was a great learning experience for them as well.

The ideas are brought to life through students direct messaging ASB using Instagram to share their thoughts and ideas, then ASB collectively brainstorms new proposals. Once they come up with a plan, they put together clips, links and pictures to produce a video. Finally, the video must be approved by the administration. Once this has been done, they can upload it to EagleTV, the youtube channel on which the announcements are played on.

“The process involves a lot of hard workers. After all of the time it takes to edit and put a video together it has to be approved by the administration. Once they approve, we can submit it to EagleTV,” Homesley said.

Even though ASB put a lot of time and effort into “Virtual Homecoming,” they still don’t think it will be the same as the real one. Homesley, as well as freshman ASB president Catherine Cheng, revealed that ASB thinks nothing beats the social and physical interaction of the original Homecoming.

Personally, I would like a physical homecoming, but I understand the circumstances that we are currently in, and safety comes first. ASB Spirit Committee has put in a lot of effort and tread into these unknown waters, and I greatly appreciate them for their dedication and great execution,” Cheng wrote to the Talon.

The social interactions between students have been at an all-time low this year because of COVID-19. While respecting the social distancing rule, ASB has been able to interact with several extracurricular clubs to help the virtual homecoming experience come to life.

“The OPHS band, cheer [and] dance team will be performing. The football team seniors as well as homecoming royalty will also be introduced,” Cheng wrote.

A team effort was put into virtual homecoming. Members of ASB, sports teams, clubs and staff members put their time and effort to make this virtual event as memorable as possible.

“Lots of people are involved in this and worked very hard. Cheer, band [and] football had to submit videos of their own, which were very grateful for. Everyone should know a lot of effort was put into this,” Homesley said.

Despite the hardships, there have been some easier traits of virtual homecoming. In previous years, when primarily nominating homecoming couples, names would be manually written down. The conditions this year have changed to an online survey that is deemed to be more effective and time-saving.

“I think online ballots are very effective. They are easier to count and incredibly more accurate because there’s no room for human error because it’s a computer,” Homesley said.

Although the current circumstances have been a challenge for ABS, Homecoming kept a sense of unity and touch throughout the school.

“We’re taking what you could call ‘one day at a time,’” junior and ASB Site Council Representative Charissa Kwok said.