Homecoming Delayed But Saved


By Althea Cunningham

Traditional Lighting of the M burns brightly in the night after all the entertainment and events.

Althea Cunningham, reporter

McKinley High School’s Homecoming event, usually held in October, was pushed to Feb. 26. because of the pandemic. The planning committee had to get really creative. The theme was Hollywood. To keep students safe, the event was a drive-thru and was titled ‘The Homecoming Cruise.” 

“We still have Tiger pride and we still have to celebrate it,” Student Activities Coordinator April Nakamura said.

The committee kept many traditional components of Homecoming, but because of the pandemic there wasn’t a football game or big pep rally assembly.

“It’s odd to have Homecoming second semester. We ought to have Homecoming with our football game,” said Nakamura. “But Homecoming is about coming home. It’s about alumni reengaging. It’s about us being proud of who we are as McKinley Tigers.”

For the drive-thru, no more than five people were allowed per vehicle and all had to be wearing masks. As attendees drove through campus, they were entertained by the Cities Boys, Da Kolohe Krew, McKinley’s school band, and a Polynesian fire knife dance group. People were able to buy food from food truck stations. Vendors included Tea Girls, Teruya’s, Kettle Corn Hawaii, and Munchie Machine, and McKinley’s Class of 2021 provided drinks for $1. Students also had opportunities to show their Tiger pride through class-level competitions and games.

“We’re still McKinley High School. You can’t cage the Tiger. We’re still alive and well,” Nakamura said.

This reporter attended, dressed in school colors and ready to try all the events. My dad drove and my younger sister sat in the back seat. From our car, I threw balls into the Dino-baskets for the Jurassic Toss event to gain class level points. I ran onto the red carpet to take a photo with my dad and bought a Homecoming shirt for $10.

“We want to see people having a good time,” Tracee Nguyen, student body president, said, “One of the biggest payoffs for us would just be to see people having fun and smiling. It makes all the work and stress feel worth it.”

McKinley has a deep sense of tradition, and the Lighting of the M is one tradition dear to all. Students gather after dark to watch a huge flammable ‘M’ get lit up and we celebrate our Tiger pride. This year, students experienced this camaraderie from the safety of their cars. 

I showed up towards the end of the Homecoming event and was disappointed that, due to the windy weather, the “M” was no longer burning. 

Junior Irika Cruz said that, upon hearing the word “Homecoming,” she thinks of alumni coming back to the place where they grew up together as family and friends and showing off the Tiger pride that they had from all those years being in high school, and that hasn’t changed despite being away from each other.

“It’s the time where we truly show the love and support that we students have for the school through the pride and tradition that the older senior Tigers have taught to the little freshie Tigers,” Cruz said.

Although reporters aren’t supposed to put their own opinion in a news article, I have to say how glad I am to have attended this event. It showed me that McKinley Pride is still alive despite not having a normal school year. The pandemic hasn’t changed the fact that the Tigers are a big family. Students and faculty won’t be separated by screens forever and the situation will get better. 

“We’re really pouring ourselves into this. We’re not just lying down and sleeping. We’re not hibernating,” Nakamura said. “We’re not bears; we are Tigers.”