By Liberty Davidson
Photos by Christine Roe, Ryan McDonald and Art Cox
Patrick Henry College
2013 Tug-of-War champions.
Ninety-degree weather didn’t stifle participation in Patrick Henry College’s homecoming celebration last week. From Wednesday night’s dodge ball tournament to the alumni vs. student football game on Saturday, students and alumni agreed that this year’s homecoming was one of the most successful the school has ever seen.
“This is my fourth homecoming and second year on the committee,” senior Lauren Johnson said, “and I've never seen the entire student body as excited for homecoming before or seen so many alumni on campus and involved.”
Daniel Noa (‘07), president of the Alumni Association, said the alumni seemed “overwhelmingly enthusiastic” and more involved than in previous years. The graduates were able to reconnect through such events as a family cookout, business meetings, and alumni-led worship during Friday’s chapel.
Alumni meeting at The Barbara Hodel Center Student Lounge.
“I'd say that homecoming this year really made all the alumni who came out feel really good, something that is different I think from the last couple years,” Noa said.
While homecoming is about welcoming back the alumni, it’s also about cultivating class unity and school spirit among the current students, said Dean of Student Life Sandy Corbitt.
On Wednesday students enjoyed a chapel message from alumnus Alan Carillo (‘12) and cheered for their class team in the dodge ball tournament kick-off event. Thursday’s activities included a chalk-art competition on the Farris Wheel and a campus-wide game of capture the flag. Friday afforded students several opportunities to interact with PHC graduates through events like the dessert reception and alumni discussion panels. The student-led events climaxed on Saturday with the traditional tug-of-war battles, themed costume competition, class cheer contest, and soccer games.
The new social media spirit competition fostered creativity and contributed to the general enthusiasm about homecoming, according to Corbitt. In an effort to win bonus points for their class, students sought “endorsement” videos and pictures from faculty, staff, alumni, businesses within the community, and well-known figures (like YouTube sensation Blimey Cow and the Ken Cuccinelli political campaign.) The competition even inspired some student-produced music videos and artwork, which were posted on Facebook.
A large number of students and alumni came for Homecoming 2013.
The homecoming festivities wrapped up on Saturday night with the annual alumni versus student flag football game, though this year’s game was held on campus and under lights for the first time. Another popular twist to the tradition was the addition of two announcers – alumnus Cody Holt (‘13) and junior Andrew Mowry.
While Holt regularly announced for the PHC Sentinels’ basketball team as a student, he said announcing for the football game was a new experience. “We had to include banter and color commentary, as well as play by play. It was new and different and so much fun…it definitely seemed like the crowd was larger than in previous years.”
The football game ended with a student victory, the final score 12-8.
The results of all the class competitions combined were announced in chapel on Monday, revealing the sophomore class in first place, juniors in second, freshmen in third, and seniors in fourth.
“It [homecoming] accomplished what I wanted it to accomplish,” Corbitt said. “It made good memories for everybody.”