PITTSFIELD -- Taconic High School is getting into the spirit.
The school is enjoying a weeklong celebration of homecoming, which began with daily themes centered around raising school spirit: Twin Day, Class Color Day, a pep rally, Pajama Day and Jersey Day.
Friday night included a Harvest Homecoming semi-formal dance, the first of its kind in recent years to be open to students from all grades. There, students were able to vote on a Homecoming Court, including a king and queen.
Today, the court will be formally announced during a pre-game vintage car parade, leading to the 1:30 kickoff as the Braves' football team takes on cross-town rival Pittsfield High School at Taconic.
"We've been trying to find a way to boost morale and bring kids together," said physical education teacher and coach Erin Maloy. She supervises Taconic's Green & Gold Club, a spirit club, along with science teacher Cori Scaduto.
"Homecoming is a time to celebrate shared experiences," Maloy said. "Taconic has a proud history in our community and we'd like to use Homecoming Week as an opportunity to connect the people, places and traditions that make Taconic High School and the city of Pittsfield so special."
She said more than 250 tickets were sold to Friday night's Homecoming dance -- that's 100 more than were sold the last time Taconic attempted to host an all-school dance.
Sophomores Robert Mottley and Ranjana Lingutla said they've seen their classmates rallying around the idea because students want more events and opportunities to socialize and celebrate accomplishments as a school.
"I think it's a good idea," said Mottley, who planned to attend the dance. "We haven't done much in the past few years, and there's really been nothing for people in our grades."
Taconic typically hosts a junior and senior prom, but no such dances are held for underclassmen.
"I think so many people are going because they don't want this to be the last thing to happen," Lingutla said. "They want more things like this,"
Though she wasn't planning to attend the dance, she said she liked the idea of the Homecoming Court especially because "it's not just about popularity and looking good. The people who were nominated are ones that really embrace what the spirit of the school is."
Scaduto said students have rallied together to help plan, decorate for and promote Homecoming/Spirit Week events. Teachers also stepped up by wearing their students' jerseys for Friday's Jersey Day to show support for the Braves.
This year, the school is also acknowledging alumni by hosting a ceremony during the game to honor members of Taconic's 1974 Super Bowl championship team. The Class of 1988 is also celebrating its 25th reunion this weekend.
"I hope this kickoff event will pave the way for more support from the community around this school," Scaduto said. "If students have that connection, it will stick with them and affect them long-term."
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