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Homecoming 2009 Refreshes Excitement and Unity

October 13th, 2009

By Sarah Pride. Pictures by Art Cox.

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722
OfficeOfCommunications@phc.edu

Amy Kucks, sophomore, exemplifies the sophomore Homecoming class theme as "jugglers."

Sumo suits. Face paint. Circus activities. Homecoming 2009 passed this last week in a blur of class color, as Patrick Henry College alumni reunited with current students to celebrate what God has done to build their alma mater in recent years. From the Hodel Center Dedication ceremony to two winning soccer games to an alumni vs. student football game fought to a tie, this jam-packed weekend resulted in a PHC community exhausted yet encouraged.

Such encouragement is precisely the purpose. As Sandra Corbitt, Dean of Student Life, notes, PHC Homecoming serves “in one way to welcome back alumni, but we also use it here to build class spirit and unity.” Now in its third year, Homecoming for 2009 featured the motto “Greatest School on Earth” and a circus theme, complete with a cotton candy machine and a few carnival activities. Each class adopted a color—yellow for freshmen, blue for sophomores, and so on—and the classes vied against each other to demonstrate their spirit and unity.

Since 2007, the Office of Student Life has appointed a committee each year to plan activities that build school spirit. Says Tia Ly, a member of the first student Homecoming committee in 2007, the early challenge involved encouraging student involvement and excitement in a “tradition” that was completely new.

“Now, that’s not a problem,” she said— an understatement, considering the energy and enthusiasm with which students participated, formed teams and competed, even despite the fact that Homecoming this year coincided with midterms week. She noted that this year’s group “did a really good job,” and that “the circus theme brought out the inner child in us all.”

Senior Jensen Near, also a member of the initial 2007 committee, emphasized the aspect of unity.

“[Homecoming] is a time to focus on the things that draw us together—individual classes, as well as students and alumni,” he said. “It reminds us of why we came to PHC in the first place.”

Students (L) vs. alumni (R) in the traditional Homecoming football game

On the alumni side, old friends shared laughs, reminisced, and “oohed” over each other’s small children as they convened on the sidelines of Saturday’s alumni-student football game. The PHC Alumni Association has seen greater participation in each succeeding Homecoming weekend, as more students graduate. The Association holds its yearly business meeting for all PHC alumni at Homecoming, keeping the Association appraised of what its elected Board has accomplished during the last twelve months.

This year, among other items, committees reported fundraising successes for a special scholarship and for Hodel Center gym equipment, and related news on the ongoing Adopt-A-Wing program and an alumni lecture series in the works. Association President Mike Hengemuhle ended by noting that next year is the College’s ten-year anniversary.

“The members of the inaugural class have been talking, and we hope to see many of us here next year,” he said.

As the crowning event of the ceremonies this weekend, alumni from across the country attended the new Barbara Hodel Student Life Center, which former students had long anticipated and which this day served appropriately as the hub for many activities.

“Having the BHC and its new facilities certainly enhanced the atmosphere for Homecoming spirit,” said senior Luke McNamara, chair of this year’s student Homecoming committee.

Click here to read the full story about the Hodel Center dedication.

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Freshmen present their class cheer as "acrobats"