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De Pere bringing homecoming back for first time since 2000

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 4:22 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2021 at 5:27 PM CDT
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DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - The Unified School District of De Pere is bringing back a high school rite of passage. After more than 20 years, a homecoming celebration returns next month. The district designated the home football game against Notre Dame on October 1 as the homecoming game, with a homecoming dance the next night.

The Fall of 2000 was the last time students in De Pere celebrated homecoming. According to high school principal Nick Joseph, “I was here as a teacher at that time, so I was a little bit out of the loop, but it sounded like there was really a community concern from the police department, school administration where it just got to a point where it was unsafe to offer homecoming for our students.”

Twenty years later, the district’s school board finally approving its return. Both current and former Redbirds excited about the opportunity.

“Ever since I was little I have always been wanting a homecoming, and I’m so excited it’s finally back for my senior year,” says student Lucy Meeuwsen.

Parent, teacher and De Pere alum Mike Picard adds, “I graduated in 1994 and have really good memories of homecoming, so I’m happy it’s coming back for the kids.”

Students and teachers are working together to bring the “It’s About Time” themed event to the community. Math teacher Corey Wollin is working with students to plan the homecoming week. She says, “A lot of it is teaching them what homecoming is about, because unless they’ve heard from parents or someone that goes to another school, they don’t really know what it is and so we’re trying this year to get things rolling and get some excitement behind it.”

The Friday night football game and Saturday night dance, while highlights of the week long event, aren’t the only way the district will be spreading school spirit. Homecoming festivities will start on Sunday, September 26th with a hallway decorating competition in the high school. There will be class shirts, and plenty of other activities to celebrate homecoming’s return.

“I don’t think I can pick one thing that I’m most excited for, just the week dressing up and there’s going to be a bunch of contests and then the carnival is going to be some much fun,” adds Meeuwsen.

Because, as they say in De Pere, it’s a great day to be a Redbird, but having homecoming back will make it even better.

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