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The City Journals

West Jordan Jaguars Put “Home” in Homecoming

Nov 06, 2015 01:02PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Margaret Spencer

West Jordan - Every year the student body officers from West Jordan High School come together over the summer for a leadership camp, where they practice working as a team and preparing for the new year. At the summer camp this year, the students came up with the theme of “Home.” 

After they had tossed ideas around, they unanimously settled on the theme, which is based off the song “Back Home” by Andy Grammer. Their idea behind this theme came from noting that the majority of students spend more time in school than they do at home, so the SBO used that idea to recreate home inside the high school. 

Before school started, they spent hours decorating the school with “Welcome home” posters and signs. They even went as far as building a hearth to set up in the common area of the school. Built from a wood frame and covered with painted fabric, this structure symbolizes everything they were hoping for. 

The welcome assembly held at the beginning of school invited and welcomed all the new students and teachers. After introducing themselves, the SBO unveiled their hearth and the theme for the new year.

“When people feel like they belong, they are more likely to achieve,” Lindsey Walker, the student body president, said. Wanting everyone to feel welcome, the SBO put in countless hours to do everything they could to make the school more welcoming.

With the beginning of the year comes the first football game and the first dance, known as homecoming. This year the SBO spent over 80 hours planning and putting it together. If they weren’t at school planning, they were doing it from home. “We don’t settle; we go for bigger and better every time,” Walker said.

They kick-started the weekend-long event with an assembly on Wednesday, Sept. 23 where they held competitions between classes and teachers. On Friday, Sept. 25, they held a pep rally after school to get everyone pumped for the game. 

The pep rally was followed by the Jag Bash, a community event hosted by WJHS. Free food, face painting and a photo booth attracted many people, including quite a few past Jags. They served over 540 hotdogs and everyone had a great time. 

The homecoming game between the West Jordan Jaguars and the Taylorsville Warriors started off with a ball drop from the sky. This had been Principal Mike Kochevar’s dream idea for last year’s homecoming game, but due to restrictions it hadn’t been able to happen.  The SBO had managed to pull some strings and get a sky diver named Bryan Wallace to drop the ball in. He was followed closely by Chris Terry, who was decked out as Dub, the Jaguar mascot. 

With every touchdown, fireworks went off.  And when the Jags won, they lit the WJ in the field on fire for their victory.

The dance theme was “Dreamin’ in the 40s.” Everyone dressed up for the time period and swing danced to Frank Sinatra. The dance was held outside on the basketball courts with café lights strung everywhere. One of the teachers, Mrs. Alyse Almond, is part of a group that is centered around the history and time of World War II, and she was able to procure a lot of WWII memorabilia to use as decorations. There was even an old war jeep to use as a photo op.

The entire event was such a huge hit that even people outside of West Jordan High were talking about it. Richard Hoonakker, a WJHS teacher, was very pleased with their outcome. 

“This year the SBO has really kicked it up,” Hoonakker said. 

Every year at the leadership summer camp, The Blue Heart-Overall Leadership award is given to the group that showed the best team skills and leadership. This is the third year in a row WJHS has won. 

When asked their feelings about how homecoming went, the group agreed that even though it was a lot of work putting it together, no one regrets a single moment spent on it. It was a success.