Homecoming 2021 Offered the Taste of Victory

It’s around noon on Homecoming Saturday and a debate is raging between students.

“I just want a burger.”

“No, the SASA [South Asian Student Association] has samosas and stuff. I’m going there.”

“My mom is selling chili at the Crew tent, so I should go there.”

“Ooooh, Pocky!”

Suffice to say, the choice for food was as diverse as what sport to watch as students, parents, faculty, and alumni gathered for the Sidwell Friends 2021 in-person Homecoming festivities. Varsity girls’ volleyball kicked off the morning with a 3-0 win over DC International School; shortly after that game was underway, girls’ varsity soccer battled hard but ultimately took a 2-1 loss against School Without Walls (SWW). Varsity field hockey won 4-0 against Episcopal High School, varsity boys’ soccer tied SWW 3-3, and football improved its season to 6-0—the best start for the team as far as many can remember—with a 28-8 victory over FCA Bucks High School.

As is tradition, Homecoming came after Spirit Week, when Upper School students dressed for theme days (even after 18 months of elastic waistbands, Pajama Day was a hit) and celebrated Quaker Day on Friday, October 15, with outdoor and indoor games and a pep rally. On Saturday, the merriment wasn’t just on the various sidelines. Outside the Kogod Arts Center, the Upper School jazz band serenaded the crowd while student clubs raised money by offering games of Mario Kart, snacks, souvenirs, and the opportunity to give someone a “shout out” using a portable microphone and speaker. Parents groups were also well represented, grilling food, selling swag, and passing out temporary tattoos and stickers celebrating Sidwell Friends, in particular the newly formed PA Pride Committee.

Due to looming clouds, the start of the football game was moved up and many student groups switched into hawker mode, selling bags of chips and popcorn in the stands while their compatriots broke down their tables before the rain arrived. Alumni enjoyed the view from the Fan Zone, where they cheered on the Quakers with the aid of hot pretzels, chicken wings, and nachos.

“We wanted to create one central spot where alums could say hello to old friends and meet new ones,” said Anna Wyeth, the director of alumni engagement. “And there was just an air of joy around, especially because people were able to be on campus who hadn’t for a long time. Everyone was just so happy to be together.” The alumni celebration then continued off campus at nearby restaurant Barcelona.

As the football team took the field, the cheering in the stands whipped up at the same time the wind did, but even when the skies darkened and the rain started to fall, enthusiasm stayed high.

“Sure it rained,” said Caleb Morris, the athletics social media and operations assistant and assistant football coach. “But I don’t think it dampened anyone’s spirits.”

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