Week of homecoming events boosts school spirit | SteamboatToday.com

Week of homecoming events boosts school spirit

Mike McCollum

— Before Friday night’s football game even started, before the Steamboat Springs High School Sailors thumped Montezuma-Cortez, 46-7, in front of a boisterous crowd, Steamboat Springs resident and former Olympian Jim “Moose” Barrows said there was something special about homecoming.

“It’s a lot more than getting us old alumni out here,” said Barrows, a 1962 Steamboat Springs High School graduate. He attends most of the Sailors’ home games. “These kids are going to remember their homecomings for a long time.”

Barrows, sporting his high school letter jacket, joined more than 100 students, alumni and other Sailors supporters prior to kickoff for a “Hometown Homecoming” rally in the field adjacent to the high school.

High School Principal Mike Knezevich, who moved to Steamboat from Aurora, said the joy in a small-town homecoming resides in the community’s embrace of the students and school for an entire week.

“Where I came from, homecoming was a football game followed by a dance,” he said. “This week just reinforces what a great community we have – and I know the kids who come back after graduation always ask what we did during homecoming week.”

Powder puff football, teacher skits, a parade, talisman competition events, the football game, pep rallies and a dance filled a busy week.

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Alumni astronaut

On Tuesday, astronaut and 1979 alumni Steve Swanson visited the high school to talk with students about his June mission aboard the NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis.

“It was a really cool thing and something you might want to do sometime in your life,” Swanson told the assembly of students, who were mostly clad in pirate gear to celebrate homecoming’s “Under the Sea” theme.

The mission specialist presented a video of his trip to the International Space Station, including his spacewalk 300 miles above Earth. After the video, Swanson answered questions that ranged from inquiries about space to his life at Steamboat Springs High School, including his grades.

“I was a 3.8 student or something like that,” he said. “We didn’t have anything over a 4.0 like you have now.”

Swanson patiently answered a litany of questions that incited roars of laughter, such as whether people have sex in zero gravity, if he saw a UFO and whether a gun can fire in space.

Swanson replied that students might be able to find out for themselves.

“You are the right age to go to the moon one day,” he said. “I’m pretty jealous about that : space is a lot of fun. and I had a wonderful time in space, but it takes a lot to get used to it.”

Spirit events

In a display of class parity, the powder puff football game ended in a tie Wednesday night as the junior and freshman classes battled the sophomore and senior classes for tag-football superiority.

Senior Taylor Miller-Freutel threw a couple of key blocks as a lineman and made a few exuberant tags that put a freshman or two on the ground.

“It’s a lot of fun, but I can’t believe I’m graduating with a tie,” the student body president bemoaned.

Prior to Friday’s parade through downtown, students gathered in the high school’s auditorium for what Knezevich described as the most fun – and often most embarrassing – hour of the year for teachers.

“The teacher skits this year were absolutely amazing and I’m surprised we haven’t received a few calls from parents about them yet,” joked Knezevich, who dressed as Otis Day for a performance of the singer’s “Shout” from the movie “Animal House.”

Teachers presented 10 skits that followed a theme of what’s on TV. In addition to Knezevich’s performance, other skits resembled programs shown on MTV and Court TV, in addition to a scene from the movie “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”

“John Ameen, one of the teachers, actually waxed his chest on stage like in the movie,” Miller-Freutel said. “I mean, that’s something I’m always going to remember.”

– To reach Mike McCollum, call 871-4208

or e-mail mmccollum@steamboatpilot.com