By Sarah Solomon
Homecoming is a special event where alumni return to celebrate and reconnect with their high school and hometown. The event is designed to allow current and former students to showcase spirit while reminiscing over high school memories. New Hyde Park Memorial’s 2023-2024 homecoming occurred on September 30 and it showcased the spirited population of NHP.
The week before homecoming is known as Spirit Week, in which students dress up and showcase their school pride. Each day had a different theme, such as jersey day and white-out day. These themed days bring about a sense of togetherness and excitement among students and faculty.
“I think wearing green was very unifying,” junior Christine Wang said. “It shows support for Farmingdale. I liked how a lot of people participated in the themes.”
Along with the football game on Homecoming day, four performing groups performed for the halftime show: the Twirlers, the Romanettes, the Cheerleaders and the Step Team. These teams managed to showcase impressive routines, dances and skills that required disciplined practice and teamwork. Each group represented a decade which was shown through their outfits and song choices.
Source by Linda Cheung
NHP performing groups showcase their outfits influenced by various decades of history.
“Performing was so fun and the crowd always inspires me to kick high to the sky,” Romanettes captain Olivia Tomalska said. “Doing the quick change from my halftime show costume to the Homecoming dress gave me an adrenaline rush and was stressful, but also made me feel like a Hollywood movie star! It was so exciting to get to do both, and I’ll remember those few minutes of time forever.”
One of the NHP’s oldest traditions is having an annual Homecoming royalty consisting of students from the senior class that were nominated by their peers and interviewed by a panel of teachers. This year’s Homecoming royalty finalists consisted of 11 students, two of which would win the title of “Royal Gladiator” during the halftime show of the homecoming game. Betzy Salmeron and Chad Zboril were named this year’s “Royal Gladiators.”
Source by Linda Cheung
During Homecoming, the "Royal Gladiators" were announced to be Chad Zboril and Betzy Salmeron.
“When I heard my name called, I was kind of confused to be honest,” senior Betzy Salmeron said. “It's cliché to say this, but I thought I was imagining things because it felt like a dream. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to represent NHP in such a kind light. I truly appreciate being an NHP gladiator, to be voted by your peers is a great feeling. I’m beyond honored to have shared this experience with the royal court. This court consisted of amazing people displaying kindness, integrity, and determination! Truly was an amazing experience.”
“I felt like royalty, crowned with the love and support of my friends and school community when I won,” senior Chad Zboril said. “Being crowned as one of the Royal Gladiators was a moment of exhilaration, embodying the spirit of a true gladiator."
It is also important to note the tireless work and effort put into these types of events. Both the Homecoming committee and the social studies teachers of NHP put a lot of hard work into the selection process and the finalization of the Homecoming courts.
“The entire senior class nominates 20 students they feel represent NHP in a positive way,” social studies teacher Ms. Madigan said. “All senior students can vote, all seniors are eligible for nomination. The top 20 are then interviewed by a committee of faculty members who volunteer their time…The committee assigns scores in various categories independently. The scores are tallied and the top 10 highest scores move on to the Homecoming Court…Once the court is finalized we work out the logistics of riding in the parade, borrowing cars like convertibles or pick-up trucks where students could enjoy riding in the open air.”
With the work put into the event, NHP’s 2023 Homecoming made students and faculty come together with a unique and unified community spirit.