Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

September 24, 2009
There’s always room for homecoming memories

While traveling through Kamas en route to another weekend camping trip in the mountains, and a quest to avoid letting summer fade out all too soon, I noticed a remarkable number of adolescents combing the nearby streets in search of noontime delicacies. While it wasn’t unique to see these teens out and about — obviously fleeing from the lunch cuisine offered by the nearby high school — what was notable was the color of their hair and clothing. It was all green.

The school’s marquee, the next landmark our mountain- bound group passed, quickly told the story why. Homecoming.

Hailing from an area where the high school is nothing more than an educational institution for rambunctious and sometimes mischievous young people who are still trying to decide who they are and what they want in life, the word “homecoming” doesn’t tend to generate such a vivid response. That’s probably because 5A high schools, which tend to have a bigger graduating class each year than the entire enrollment of a smaller school, cover such a wide area that school pride and community connection seem to get lost somewhere on the road between the school and home.

Sure, we still had a parade, a football game, painted the street, and hosted a formal dance, but it was only particularly notable to the people living directly adjacent to the school and the students themselves.

Even that first school dance of the year was waning in popularity by the time I arrived at the high school 10 years ago. I remember going to the dance a grand total of once. Literally “tired” of thinking of a unique way to ask a girl to the dance, my date threw a used car tire on my porch with a message attached to it with a rusty old nail.

“I’m ‘tired’ of thinking up new ways to ask to the dance, so I thought I’d just come out and ask you … will you go to homecoming with me?” it said.

I’ve got some pictures of me in a black and red formal clutching a bouquet of flowers standing next to the said date while smiling for the photographer at the dance, but that’s about the extent of my memories of homecoming for my entire three-year high school career. The football game was slightly more eventful, but yielded about the same crowd as regular home games.

While I don’t know anyone from Kamas, I’m sure everyone in town was rooting their team to victory that night from the stands of the quaint, yet noticeably small stadium — whether or not they attended this high school in the past or have a relation to someone currently attending.

Being privy to this unusual sight made me proud this year to be living in Stansbury, a smaller community where a high school plays such an important role in unifying a community for newcomers and long-timers alike. Though my husband is a Tooele High alum, it’s not likely to be the school where we’ll be soaking in the rays of the overhead stadium lights cheering until we’re hoarse this homecoming. Instead we’ll be rooting for the Stallions.

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