Principal Dodig Addresses Homecoming Change

Photo by Lucas Hammerman 10

Photo by Lucas Hammerman ’10

DJ Sixsmith ’11
Web Sports Editor

Photo by Lucas Hammerman '10

Eight in-school suspensions, three hospitals visits and one morning announcement. This is homecoming 2009 by the numbers.

After a meeting with the parents of the Staples community last fall and a recent individual meeting with varsity cheerleaders Carolyn Hamm ’11 and Lindsay Nelson ’11, Principal John Dodig is looking for a way to solve the alcohol abuses that surfaced this past September.

One way Dodig believes the problem can be avoided is with an earlier start time to the varsity football game. According to Dodig, the current proposition on the table is to change the start of the game from 1:30 p.m. to 10:30 a.m. like the Thanksgiving Day game, and hold it in late October. This change Dodig believes will allow Homecoming to transition back to its original roots.

“The name Homecoming actually comes from the idea of celebrating the return home of the freshman in college with an environment for them to share stories with current students of the school,” said Dodig.

The ultimate motivation behind this potential decision is to provide less time for kids to drink alcoholic beverages prior to the game. To further instill his no tolerance policy, Dodig has also considered the idea of requiring students to sign a contract similar to the one they have to sign for both junior and senior proms.

“The code of conduct makes a student morally and ethically obliged to follow the rule,” he said. “The consequences listed show students the price they will pay if they break the rules.”

The most interesting part of this entire situation is the difference in the behavior students’ exhibit at prom compared to homecoming. Surrounded in a closed environment by teachers and principals, students at prom are much more contained as opposed to homecoming where there are numerous unguarded entrances to the field.

Ben Meyers ’11 articulates why he feels students act differently at prom and homecoming.

“When kids are in school I don’t think they’re comfortable being drunk, not with parents and teachers that close. I think they feel separated at the game. You can jump up and down at a football game, which makes it less weird to be drunk than at a school dance,” said Meyers.

Staples students have voiced strong opinions regarding Homecoming ever since speculation of Dodig’s decision began to spread. Some that were present at the game this year, like Mike Friedson ’10, believe that a change in time of the game would ruin the meaning of Homecoming.

“It would be a lot less enjoyable overall. The fans not to mention the players would be more tired and groggy. It would be less of a spectacle, a worse crowd, a worse performance. homecoming is about the game.”

While Friedson agrees that those who break the laws should be reprimanded, he believes that the administration is putting too much focus on the drinking issue.

“They can’t make the focus of the game to minimize teen drinking. Is that really what homecoming has become? Don’t punish everyone. Honestly kids will still drink. Is it better that they drink at 7 a.m. then at 10 a.m.? Absolutely not.”

Similar disapproval about the possibility of starting the game at 10 a.m. can be found in the Staples football locker room with captain Rob Gau ’11. The starting linebacker for the Wreckers believes that his team’s performance is altered with an earlier start time.

“Making the game earlier becomes a big deal because I feel we play better during the afternoon or at night rather than in the morning,” said Gau

Gau believes that there is an alternative resolution to the alcohol abuse that does not involve touching the start time of the game

“I would say to keep the game in the afternoon, amp up security and make a public announcement. This shouldn’t affect the football program or the time of the game. It’s becoming ridiculous.”

Fellow captain Chris Coyne ’11 is tired of the football team being the center of this problem and believes that any initiative made by Dodig will ultimately be useless because of the fact that it will not solve the problem.

“I don’t really care what he does, because this isn’t our problem to deal with. It’s not our fault. And changing the time won’t help either… adding security may help, but I can’t imagine anything he does will really quell the problem.”

Despite Gau’s request, there are no current plans to step up security forces, according to Dodig. Dodig feels that if homecoming comes to the point in which extra security is needed, than the celebration should be seized.

“If we can’t run homecoming without a large police presence than we should stop having the celebration all together. Why should I or anyone else say goodbye to their families to tend to intoxicated kids who become abusive.”