Despite setbacks, CHS celebrates Homecoming

Superintendent of Schools Gary Williams crowns Homecoming Queen Jada Cooks. The Crossett High School Homecoming Court presentation was made via livestream from the CHS gym to allow for social distancing. Occurrences of COVID-19 and anticipated heavy rains and winds associated with Hurricane Delta forced several changes to the Homecoming activities this year. (PHOTO BY KRISTI CLANTON/News Observer)

Homecoming at Crossett High School wasn’t just the usual affair.

First, a football player and members of the coaching staff tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday. Then, news of a coming hurricane — which arrived in Ashley County with at-times tropical storm force winds — forced them to change even more.

The school announced on Wednesday that the homecoming football game would be played on Thursday night instead of Friday night because of the expected weather. 

The announcement prompted meetings about the traditional Friday afternoon coronation ceremony and how the events would be changed to accommodate moving the football game. 

Coordinator April Adams announced that though the game would be on Thursday the Crossett Administration had decided to keep the coronation ceremony for Friday afternoon. 

At that time, they still planned for the fathers of the girls on the court to escort them across the football field in a pregame ceremony. However, at approximately 4:50 p.m. on Thursday — 25 minutes before the maids were due at the field for the pregame ceremony — the Crossett sports administration announced that they had to cancel the game after a player tested positive for COVID-19.

Not only were the night’s events canceled, but the entire football team was forced to quarantine, meaning that the senior football players would not be available to escort the maids during the Friday ceremony. 

Adams decided that the fathers could fill in, and since the girls and their fathers were already in their game night attire, they decided to do photos and a run through of the Friday ceremony.

The coronation ceremony on Friday afternoon was open to limited guests and live streamed for the public. Students throughout the CHS building watched the streaming from their classrooms. Though there was no traditional pep rally or talent show, the Eaglettes and cheerleaders each performed a dance.

Several things about the ceremony differed from previous years. The absence of the band meant recorded music only, and the absence of the talent show made the ceremony last only a fraction of the time.

Superintendent Gary Williams crowned Queen Jada Cooks instead of having the previous year’s queen do the honors.

The announcers honored the senior football players by reading their names and information just as they would if they had walked during the ceremony. 

Their photos were projected on the jumbo screen in the middle of the arena.

“It was not at all how we wanted it to be, but I’m glad we got to do it,” Adams said.

Williams said he appreciated how hard his staff worked to make the ceremony happen for the students even though it was far from ideal and the obstacles seemed to be ever coming.

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