If the dance is the capstone and the football game the reason for all the fuss, the crowning of the king and queen at Homecoming is viewed as the penultimate moment of the celebrating.
A pep rally and coronation were held at the Perry High School gym Thursday evening, with 2014 King Zach Roberts and Queen Erica Tenold on hand to pass on their crowns to a new royal pair.
The court included queen candidates Mariah Duffy, Brooke Garnes, Desiree Hartz, Victoria Hegstrom and Emma King, with Tanner Darr, Ivan Garcia, Ryan Rathje, Eli Saemisch and Kade VanKirk the king candidates. All were greeted enthusiastically by their fellow students.
The rally started with several selections from the Perry Blue Brigade band and Signal Squad, with the PHS cheerleaders stepping onto the floor to help lead the signing of the school fight song.
Dale and Linda Schumacher — who were not able to attend — were announced as honorary king and queen. They will be at Dewey Field Friday to give a ceremonial coin toss.
The court was announced in pairs, each duo entering the gym under a spotlight and taking to a stage erected at the east end. The Perry Pulse Dancers performed, with the Perry volleyball team offering a dance number while the senior cheerleaders and senior football players played a “guess which cheerleader” contest.
The entire court then stepped onto the floor as the lights went down and spotlights were opened. Roberts passed behind each king candidate before placing his crown on VanKirk’s head, to the wild applause of the student section.
Tenold kept the tension high as she passed slowly behind each potential queen before placing her tiara on Hartz as the students cut loose with thunderous applause.
Students and the public then stepped across McKinley Street to the Perry Athletic Complex for the annual bonfire. The Blue Brigade and cheerleaders helped promote school spirit as the blaze raged.
Perry is unusual in holding a Homecoming bonfire. Once a fixture at most schools, PHS is one of very few in Iowa maintaining the tradition.
PHS students will dress in class colors Friday, as freshmen don red, sophomores white, juniors black and seniors blue. Students will gather in the gym at 1 p.m. for Game Day, during which different groups from each class will be vying for the last few precious ‘spirit points.’
Each class has been trying to gather as many points as possible during themed clothing days, Home Room door decorations and other activities, with the winners — who will be announced at halftime of tonight’s game — earning the Spirit Stick and bragging rights as the class with the most school spirit.
All the celebrating will be capped tonight when Perry hosts Algona for a Class 3A District 2 battle on Dewey Field. Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m.