For years, football homecoming has been an important event in high schools across the country, including Portage High School. Within the past two years, Portage has installed some new traditions and started a winter homecoming. The week of Jan. 9 kicked off this winter homecoming week for high school students.
This past Monday, Student Council hosted a “powderbuff” boys volleyball tournament in order to raise school spirits, but mostly to help raise funds for school nurse, Brandy Manville. Junior Class President, Andrea Vance planned the event.
“Last year was the first time we ever did a powderbuff [game], we raised money, but had no one to give it to,” Vance said. “This year, I said, ‘I’d like to donate to another staff member at this school,’ but I didn’t just know who, until a couple of teachers recommended her. Soon, it became the goal of the whole game.”
Manville was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, the student body was able to raise over $300 for her medical needs. Vance says this was far more than what was raised last year. Tickets were $2 for students to attend and there was also a bake sale for her.
The team’s were made up of many different grade levels and even included some staff members, but the Gray Team, made up of sophomore Tyler Constandars and freshmen, Ryan McCaslin, Zack Warchus, Scott Hansen, Kody Taylor and Broghan Lane won the tournament.
Each day, students have been participating in spirit week themes beginning with Mismatch monday and then following with Tye-dye tuesday, Hit the Waves wednesday and Throwback thursday and ending the week with a traditional school colors spirit day. Senior Grace Steorts finds spirit week to be a fun new tradition for students.
“I feel like dressing up is kind a way to make this week go by a little faster and make it more fun,” Steorts said. “This week has so many fun activities, but it is also finals week. I think dressing up just makes this stressful week a little more laid back.”
The winter homecoming dance took place on Jan. 13. Students danced the night away, took photobooth photos and enjoyed refreshments. Sophomore Rebecca Rosado said that Winter Formal is one of Portage’s best traditions. Self proclaimed “dancing queen” had fun dancing, but also spending time with her friends.
“My favorite part of winter formal was the photo booth,” Rosado said. “It gave me the ability to have pictures with my friends that i'll be able to look back on when I'm older."
Each sports team get to nominate a senior girl and then the entire school will vote on who will crowned Friday night. This year’s nominees include Becca Wireman, Ashley Music, Kaitlyn Shafer, Hailey Robinson, Sam Haywood and Brittney Shebish. Music was crowned Snow Queen during halftime at the game. She is the second Portage Snow Queen, taking the crown over from last year’s winner, Katy Steers. Music was thrilled that both her teammates and classmates chose her to be the winner.
“When I heard my name I was so surprised,” Music said. “All the nominees are such good people, I really didn’t think I would win. When they said my name, I felt my stomach drop. It was such a cool experience.”
All these events lead up to the Varsity boy’s basketball game against Boone Grove on Jan. 14 at 7:30 pm. The boy’s defeated the Wolves 65-34 and Senior Evan Galindo led the team with 18 points. This brings their record to 5-10. Senior Alex Constandars believes this win was great, but only the beginning for this season.
“This win was special, the seniors last homecoming, a big crowd and the atmosphere was great,” Constandars said. “This is something I won’t forget.”
While the school chooses a Snow Queen, the basketball team gets to vote for who they believe should be Mr. Basketball. Mr. Basketball is just as new as Snow Queen and is to parallel Mr. Football, who is crowned at football homecoming. This year, the boys chose Stevie Lush. Lush was excited to be given this honor, as was his team. Constandars was not only thrilled about the win, but he was happy to see his longtime teammate get honored.
“Stevie is always the one to pick you up, make you laugh and push you harder,” Constandars said. “He’s a great teammate overall.”
Lush took the crown from last year’s Mr. Basketball from Justin Bates. He was both shocked and excited that his teammates voted for him.
“It felt good [to be crowned],” Lush said. He added, “It’s just another memory to add to my senior year, let alone another memory on the season. Just knowing I have teammates that support me and took the time to vote for me made me feel the love and brotherhood within the team.”
The Winter Homecoming idea was started by Student Council to give students another week like the Football Homecoming week, but also to give the ability to showcase other groups of students. Study Body Vice President Abbey Seberger believes this is another week of fun for the students.
“We [Student Council] decided to do a winter homecoming week to get the students back into the school spirit after a long holiday break going into the second semester,” Seberger said. “We thought that homecoming week would be a great way to give students that push they needed going into the last half of the school year.”