Homecoming for Dummies: A Beginner’s Guide to the Dance of the Season

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed ticket prices to the Homecoming dance as $25. The tickets are only $20. This article has been updated to reflect the correct price. 

If you’re new to George Mason, get ready to experience a week like no other. The school’s annual Spirit Week, which is the week leading up to the Homecoming Dance, features different spirit days, engaging competitions, pep rallies, and various opportunities to mingle and cheer.

In the very first month of school, you’re going to be thrown headfirst into the midst of one of the biggest social events of the year. Unless you’re lucky enough to have older siblings or to have watched reruns of the Homecoming episode of “Friday Night Lights,” you may not be completely prepared for this event and all it entails.

So, let’s start with the basics. What is Homecoming, why should you go, and what should you do to make the entire week a success?


An infographic that shows the spirit days for 2017“Homecoming is essentially a dance for students to come together,” Secretary of the SCA and the co-chair of the Spirit Committee, Haeju Jeong, a senior, said. “[Spirit week] is a way lead up to and hype [Homecoming] up as well as portray Mason School Spirit… [and] on Friday we will have a pep-rally to see who has the most spirit.”

The two major highlights of spirit week are the football game, which is held on September 22, and the homecoming dance being held on September 23. A tailgate party will open Friday evening’s festivities at 6:00 p.m on the upper parking lot with food and activities, and will be followed by the homecoming football game at 7:00 p.m.

* Bring your loudest cheers and school spirit to support the team as they play their way to victory.

A girl looking at herself in the mirror.

Freshman Gillian Murphy prepares for the dance. (Photo by Sneha Parthasarathy)

Homecoming culminates on Saturday, September 23 with a Hollywood themed dance from 8-11 p.m. in the main gym of GMHS.

*Some students might be apprehensive about attending the dance without being completely settled into school, however homecoming might actually help with feeling more at home at Mason.

“As freshmen, going to a new school can be kind of intimidating and it can feel like you don’t know a lot of people,” Katherine Donovan, President of the Class of 2021 said. However, “homecoming is one of the best ways to get involved because you can just go and meet people and be supportive of the school. It’s going to be a really good time.”

To kick things off for these two events, the Student Council Association (SCA) planned a road-trip-themed spirit week to promote friendly competition between the grades and build anticipation for Friday’s pep-rally and football game. This year, each of the spirit days showcase different aspects of American culture from places all over the country.

*Dress in theme attire each day to prove your grade’s superiority. For more information, see the infographic regarding Spirit Week below.

Another big aspect of spirit week is the traditional games that different grades face each other in leading up to the pep-rally. For the underclassmen, it’s pin-dodge, a game similar to dodgeball. Both grades play against each other in the main gym on Monday, September 18 during Mustang Block for spirit points.

The upperclassmen earn spirit points and bragging rights through volleyboys and powderpuff, two student-led competitions. During the weeks leading up to spirit week, Mason’s girls volleyball team has been teaching boys in each grade to play volleyball, while the boys football team has been teaching girls in their grade to play flag football.

“The boys have been working extremely hard and have made sure their defense is tip top for the big match coming on Wednesday, and I’m exited to see what they bring to the table,” senior volleyball player Adwoa Ankuma said.

The junior and senior boys will compete against each other on Wednesday, September 20 right after school in the main gym.

Later that night, at 7:00p.m, the junior and senior girls will match up on the turf.

Two boys arm wrestling

Junior James Gogal and Senior Jack West arm-wrestle in the 2016 homecoming pep rally. (Photo by Sierra Sulc and Jessie Beddow).

Spirit Week reaches its peak at the annual Friday pep rally held in the main gym during school. Students participate in a series of engaging competitions against other grade levels, including pie-eating, bottle flipping, and arm wrestling. In addition, team captains from all fall sports introduce themselves and give speeches about their team’s season in order to gather support and spirit from the crowd.

*The final part of the pep-rally concludes with a ‘victory cry’ from each grade. The cheerleaders call onto each grade to see which grade gives the loudest cheers. Be sure to remember how to spell ‘victory’!

Here’s some final advice regarding what you should bring and wear to homecoming.

“Crush the Cougars” T-shirts will be for sale for $10 in Ms. Eisenberg’s room throughout the Homecoming week. Additionally, tickets for the homecoming dance are $20 and will be sold during Mustang Block throughout the entire spirit week (September 18 through September 22) and after the pep- rally on Friday September 22.

*Food and drinks during the dance will be located in the cafeteria.

*Technically, there is no enforced dress code for the dance, but make sure not to incur the wrath of a conservative teacher by wearing something too revealing.

*Most importantly, have fun with it. Enjoy this week and cheer your loudest for your grade. Make friends and make memories.


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