Crookston High School Principal Eric Bubna has written a letter to the editor talking about a homecoming week that isn’t the same as last year because of COVID-19. The letter is below –
The Stress We Wish We Had
We are always on a quest to reduce the amount of stress we have to deal with. Stress is bad. This pandemic has added a lot of stress to schools. Parents, teachers, and staff are all adjusting to new routines and realities as we deal with COVID-19. I would like less stress in school…except for this week. This week I wish we were more stressed.
Twelve months ago if you were to survey a group of principals in the state of Minnesota and ask them what time of year is the most stressful, I am willing to bet over 90 percent would have said, “Homecoming Week.” At our monthly regional meetings you will often hear someone in November say, “Good work everyone! You made it through Homecoming Week!” While everyone knew they were joking, all jokes have some truth behind them. There are pep fests, dress up days, special schedules, coronation, dances, etc. It’s a week you hope to simply survive. That was twelve months ago.
Now schools across the country are having Homecoming Weeks that are scaled back. No pep-fests that alter your entire schedule for the day. No dances that keep you up until 1:00 in the morning. No assemblies for coronation, no huge crowds at football games. All the things that use to put you in survival mode are now gone. Things are less stressful this week, but it’s a stress we miss!
It goes without saying that the loss of human life has been the most tragic aspect of this pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of people in this country have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and thousands more have lost their jobs. The rest of us have been fortunate to have only lost parts of our daily routines. We lost our ability to shop like we use to. We lost our ability to visit friends and family like we have in the past. We lost our ability to attend live sporting events and concerts. We lost our ability to go out for dinner and a movie.
Hopefully those losses have resulted in gains in perspective. Once we make it through this pandemic many of us will have a greater appreciation for things we used to take for granted. Dinner and movie will have a new meaning to it. Going to a packed gymnasium and listening to the roar of the crowd will be extra special. Some of us might even look forward to that weekend visit from the in-laws. Sometimes you have to lose something before you can recognize how valuable it is.
I realize Homecoming Week is a small deal in the grand scheme of life, especially in the midst of a pandemic, and it’s not as though it has been cancelled. We still have dress up days, a football game, coronation, etc. Linda Morgan and student council have done a great job of making this week as good as possible. But it’s not the same. We miss having the student body cheer on the Homecoming Court during coronation. Teacher-Student volleyball competitions and pie eating contests don’t work over Zoom. I’m excited for the football game on Friday, but it will feel weird to not have a dance to chaperone afterwards.
Is Homecoming Week stressful? Of course; but the energy, enthusiasm, and excitement it brings to the school and community is worth every bit of it. Now that we have experienced what a scaled back Homecoming Week is like, survey a group of principals and the results would be unanimous: we love Homecoming Week and can’t wait for it to return in all its glory!