WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — High school homecoming is usually a pretty big deal for not just students but the community too. This year schools are having to plan homecoming celebrations unlike ever before.
It’s partially making the most of what is allowed, while you can. Kenowa Hills High School had their first student test positive for COVID-19 this week. School officials don’t believe the virus spread to any other students or staff members, but it’s made a celebration like homecoming, much more difficult.
“This is not a normal circumstance,” Kenowa Hills High School Principal Nathan Robrahn said. “This is not what any of us have ever gone through so just to be flexible and be positive around some of what we’re doing now so that kids can be in school and we can provide support and love to them has been good.”
Things they can’t do this year, dances and assemblies, which some students say sucks.
“It does. I think we’re missing out in that aspect,” Kenowa Hills senior Ava Deschaine said. “We don’t have a dance. I know not everyone gets to dress up, but luckily, the people on homecoming court do still get to wear a dress, still get to feel like, getting pretty and just like feel the whole experience of homecoming in some way still.”
Homecoming court and a spirit week celebration complete with dress up days and the football game, three things the school can still do to make this week special for seniors.
“I know that the school has tried really hard to give seniors and give the whole school just like, a normal spirit week and just trying to make it as normal as what they can. But it definitely has been a change,” Deschaine said. “I feel like it’s almost brought us together a little bit because I guess all of us are going through the same hardships.”
It’s been hard on senior football players Nathan Titus and Cadin Rose especially. They’ve had to adapt in recent weeks to rules in flux and fans in question.
“It’s an insane change from not having people to having people in the stands,” Rose said. “It’s alright though but it’s hard to think about cause it’s my senior year. But it’s definitely, it’s definitely still OK and I will proceed with it cause, I kind of have to, but it’s alright.”
Appreciation for what the students are allowed to do is closely linked to an underlying sadness for seniors who saw what things were like for seniors in previous years. They’re still determined to make the best of the cards this class has been dealt.
“I’m definitely going to tell my kids about this,” Titus said. “It’s just going to be sad to be honest with you. We have three games left forever. So, I’m just going to try to make the most of it.”
Titus, Rose and Deschaine join senior student spirit leader Mila Martineau on this year’s homecoming court at Kenowa Hills High School. Martineau says more fans in the stands makes her job on gameday, especially on homecoming, much more fun.
“We are just kind of trying to do what we can to make the best of what we have. You know, it’s our senior year, so we just kind of have to try to have fun with it,” Martineau said. “I’m pretty thankful for that.”
The students overall positive approach to change is an encouraging sign for principal Robrahn who experienced a full Kenowa Hills High School homecoming decades ago when he was a student here.
“This is difficult, because I do remember the things that happened my senior year, memories you know?” Robrahn said. “It’s been difficult to say, boy, we’re just not able to do that for these young people but the kids are enjoying whatever it is we can do to have some normalcy and kind of relishing that moment and just enjoying whatever that is.”
While the school will continue to closely monitor their coronavirus situation with their first positive test, Robrahn says they school is doing everything they can to make sure students can continue to come to class in person. He believes the fact they haven’t had to interrupt instruction at the school is reason enough reason to celebrate.
“I know each and every day that something may happen,” Robrahn said. “We may soon be in a situation where through some contact tracing or an event maybe that happened that I’m going to have to change things quickly. We’ll continue to plow through whatever this is we’re doing, but kids will find that joy, they find that connection that they have to each other and just to be able to enjoy that has been good.”