VHS looks to bring back homecoming dance

The Vandegrift choir was part of the Viper 2018 Homecoming celebration. They sang “God Bless America” before the football game kickoff .

Parents share feedback on student event

On Friday, Four Points News asked for community feedback on the lack of an organized Vandegrift homecoming event for students after the game to cap off the exciting week of celebration. Momentum builds all week with the parade, pep rally, fireworks, voting on the homecoming court and mums but then after the game, that’s it.

There used to be a dance and there has been a courtyard party on campus with food. This year the post-game event was cancelled because of several factors including competition with ACL weekend 2.

Next year, plans are already in the works for an event, and likely an off campus dance on Saturday. VHS principal Charlie Little has been working with other key staff on picking the best date for VHS Homecoming 2019. He says there are a lot of things to consider and avoid when picking but he is committed to making something work.

Here is some community feedback about the idea of a VHS homecoming finale gathered by email and Facebook posts.

Cindy Long Yates

I have always been sad our kids do not get to experience the bad dancing we got to enjoy during our high school years. Most school have moved their homecoming dances to a Saturday night to not conflict with the game.

Jill Collins

Definitely need to bring the dance!

Michelle Lamb

A semi formal dance! One daughter is now a senior and every year she says the same thing… we need a dance like every other school in America! And I agree… my other daughter will be a freshman next year and hopes (things) will change.

Cindy Stair Hathaway

I agree that there should be something after the game on campus. I like the food truck and games idea. Maybe there could be door prizes? It would be nice to give them some memories and a place to gather as a school community before they hunker down to life.

Jennifer Mullen Farrow

I was told that there used to be a dance but no one went so they cancelled it. The kids need to stand up and speak if a dance is what they want! I’ve only heard this desire from nostalgic parents.

Daisy Espitia Longmire

We should be asking the kids! We have a winter formal for everyone but only freshmen go.

It was Student Council that did the Whataburger after party and it was cancelled due to weather concerns and kids wanting to go to Whataburger to hang out instead. Let’s rent out Whataburger!

Leila Siqueiros

Keep HOCO, keep the big mums and garters, keep this Texas tradition, heck keep winter formal and celebrate our school and community!!

Jill Wingrove

While we were certain we could organize an amazing school event for the kids (this year), we knew that it was unrealistic to compete with ACL. The dance would be so important to building school spirit, loyalty, pride and would inevitably create lasting and fond memories of their time at Vandegrift High School.

Another parent stated:

I have heard that LT has their homecoming court announced at a football game but their dance may be a week or two later. Lake Travis, Westlake, etc – all make a homecoming dance work. As it stands (at VHS) – what does “asking someone to homecoming” even mean?  There isn’t anything to do after the game besides go to Whataburger. It is time for Vandy to have a homecoming dance!!

Another parent commented:

Why can’t they open up the gym or the cafeteria, or both, for HoCo dance? It doesn’t have to be at a fancy location. Growing up in Houston, I have fond memories of every HoCo dance… game on Friday, and then Saturday, getting dressed up going out for dinner and the dance. Perhaps VHS could somehow plan to do the HoCo game on a Thursday and open up Friday for a dance.

Sareta Heath

To host one of these dances in the courtyard takes logistics and work by the staff. But I can imagine it is a lot to figure out and frustrating to those involved when no one shows. With ACL, band competitions and other team events, (it’s challenging).

Charlie Little, principal of Vandegrift

I completely agree that we should have a fun culminating event  for the weekend of Homecoming.

And, I agree with some of your readers that Homecoming has a certain nostalgia for  parents that is not shared by this new generation;  however, I still think they (students) enjoy participating.  

This year, I had over 2,000 students vote for the HC court, and the enthusiasm for the coronation and parade were the highest ever. The only part of Homecoming that we struggle with is what to do after the game.

This year, we didn’t get out the promotion of the event early, and based on student feedback, it would not be well attended, so rather than offer a sub-standard event,  we decided to cancel. The feedback from the food trucks was that it was not cost effective to sell from 10:30 p.m. to midnight, and that they can make more money at their regular locations on a Friday night. The honey butter chicken biscuits are a hit, but after expenses, it was a wash last year. We have to pre-order, so we were worried StuCo might take a loss due to the unpredictable number of students who would attend.

Also, the upperclassman feedback was that they all like to go to Whataburger after the games (their tradition), and that they would likely not attend a dance in the gym (Friday or Saturday) unless it was a true formal; however, they indicated they were not likely to attend any dance with freshman, etc. (like our current Winter Formal).   

Of course, prom is well attended with 700+ students, but at a cost of over $35,000. As a public school, we can’t enter into a contract for a formal dance where we might lose money, so anything other than prom is a risky proposition since the students rarely pre-buy tickets.

Friday’s after games are always problematic, since the athletes and band don’t ’really have time to clean up  after the game for an event. In the past, band had a contest on Saturday, so that took 400+ kids out of the mix.  

For next year, we are looking at an off-site venue for a Saturday homecoming dance. It may only be attended by 9th/10th,  but that’s ok. With over 700 freshman, we can probably make something work. I will personally make sure we do better next year.