Homecoming week, although full of festivities, is also one of the biggest fundraising opportunities of the year on campus. This year, however, those fundraising attempts fell flat on an unresponsive student body.
Penny Wars, during which students put money donations for the Community Service Club in individual buckets for each grade, only raised $1,042.91 this year, in stark contrast to previous year’s totals of around $3,000. In the past, pennies counted as positive points and anything else counted as negative points.
“We had hoped that changing the rules would encourage people to donate more,” said community service coordinator Stan Moor, “because students would have been able to donate anything in their pockets.”
Representatives believe that it was the ability to affect other grades negatively that had motivated students in the past to donate more.
“I think the students here are more encouraged to donate when there is competition,” said an anonymous student government member, “but it’s not about competition; it’s about giving back. We hope we can raise more money next year. ”
Collecting canned food for the Atlanta Community Food Bank also proved to be a challenge this year. The drive has been a homecoming tradition at Westminster for years, but Moor estimates that this year’s student donations will collectively fill up only two out of the eight collection barrels set up around campus.
“You know what we have to do to fill these up?” asked student government faculty coordinator Patrick Mourjan. “I harass people every morning, I send emails… I don’t think the economy has anything to do with it. I don’t know what else we could do.” He gestures to one of the Atlanta Community Food Bank collection barrels.
“That’s just pathetic for a high school this big,” Moor said.
The events and fundraisers of homecoming week are organized by the student government. With the homecoming football game on Oct. 18, members of StudGov began planning the week’s festivities months ago.
“We planned and promoted Penny Wars, the canned food drive, and dress-up days,” said student government co-president Michael He. “We organized the homecoming court posters, the costume contest, the dance, and nearly everything on homecoming day.”
The pep rally and football games, during which the homecoming king and queen are crowned, still seem to be well loved among students.
“I love this pep rally,” said an anonymous junior girl. “I look forward to it every year.” The varsity and junior varsity cheerleading teams combined for the pep rally’s dance routine, allowing them to do more complex stunts that wowed all those present.
“I think it’s a lot more impressive to watch the cheerleaders when they are all together,” said junior Hannah Gay. “They can throw people higher and have more of them in the air at once, and let’s be honest, that’s everyone’s favorite part.”
The male portion of the homecoming court then came down for the king competition. Sloane Shuler, this year’s homecoming king, found his crown inside a donkey piñata during the final elimination round and was received by his enthusiastic varsity football teammates on the gym floor.
Margaret Draper, this year’s homecoming queen, was crowned during halftime of the football game. She, too, was congratulated enthusiastically.
“It’s fun to think that if it could happen to me,” said Draper, “it could happen to anyone!”