“This wasn’t what I expected”: Freshmen experience at Homecoming

Combined photo and illustration of a freshman at homecoming. By Anna Fiddelke and Iris Libson.

Anna Fiddelke

Combined photo and illustration of a freshman at homecoming. By Anna Fiddelke and Iris Libson.

Claire Chen and Iris Libson

A common tradition, Homecoming, also poses as a high school welcome ceremony, inviting freshmen to participate in school spirit activities. Edina hosted its 2022 Homecoming dance on Sept. 17 to celebrate the new high school year. Leading up to the weeks of Homecoming, freshmen had differing expectations for how the event would go.

“My expectations had been set by my brother. He’s a senior and has been there a couple of times, so my expectations of the dance were pretty realistic,” freshman Samantha Tietz said. 

Aside from siblings, movies and pop culture provide freshmen with a reference for what to expect. A basic standard was set through media and entertainment depicting a themed social event with DJ stations and festive decorations, honoring the event as a high school highlight. 

  “I learned about [Homecoming] through movies, and all the aspects of it, like Homecoming King and Queen,” freshman Sophia Hoffman said. 

Freshmen followed the traditional Homecoming plans of groups, dinner, dance, then afterparty, though some had trouble finalizing their decisions.

“I made plans with friends about a week in advance, but they kept changing [the plans] even the night of,” freshman William Fritz said. 

The dance itself consisted of the customary pop songs and slow dance, but the environment of the dance was new territory for the ninth graders. “You walked down the stairs, and you could feel it get hotter and louder every step you go down. My first reaction was, ‘This wasn’t what I expected.’ I’ve watched a lot of movies, and they’re different from this,” Hoffman said. 

Most students attend the event for no more than an hour, partly due to the humidity of the area. The absence of air circulation proved to be a problem for the students. 

“It was really hot in there, and I think [adding some more] air conditioning might help since a lot of people got sick after the dance,” Hoffman said.

Even with the minor inconvenience, the Homecoming dance provided a fun social gathering for the freshmen, with an overall positive response. For Hoffman, Fritz, and Tietz, the highlight of the night wasn’t the dance, but rather the preparation and socializing. “I could see why people wouldn’t want to go, especially freshman year, but I think going out with friends and dinner is the most fun part of it, even if you [don’t] go to the dance,” Tietz said.