Excitement is running rampant on Cherry Hill.
In short, spirit may have reached an all-time level for “HoCo” at Johnston High School this week.
Homecoming 2018 will be one for the record books, courtesy of four undergrads and a faculty member who have coordinated what promises to have all the color and pageantry you’d find in places like Pasadena and New York City for the Rose Bowl Parade and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Presented by the JHS Student Council – President Emily Raposo, Vice President Nicholas Petrillo, Corresponding Secretary Ana Petrella, Recording Secretary Caleb Lee and Advisor Greg Russo — Homecoming 2018 will continue the tradition that began back in 1967-68 and will be held for the 51st straight year beginning tomorrow and winding up Saturday night.
“HoCo”, as the unique social and school celebration is called in some parts of the country, will kickoff tomorrow at noon at JHS’ Edward L. DiSimone Gymnasium with the annual Pep Rally that will include the girls’ tennis and volleyball teams, boys and girls cross country squads and JHS football Panthers as well as their coaches, administrators and staff.
The excitement will spill over into the late evening hours when students, their friends and in some cases parents begin construction the colorful floats that will be on display for Saturday’s annual Homecoming Day Parade.
The town-wide parade will be preceded by a viewing then judging of the floats between 8:30 and 9:45 a.m. with the parade scheduled to step off at 10 a.m. sharp from the JHS parking lot off Atwood Avenue.
In keeping, this Saturday’s Homecoming parade will be led by the Johnston Police Color Guard, Explorer Post 405 Color Guard and include JHS’ national award0pwinning Marching Panther Band, Majorettes and a number of dignitaries including Gov. Gina Raimondo and Lt. Gov. Dan McKee.
Mayor Joseph Polisena, a 1972 JHS grad, will headline the town’s representation that will include, as Russo said earlier this week: “everything from special student groups and clubs, youth sports teams and cheerleaders, antique cars carrying special guests and of course the student-designed floats.
Likewise, the line of march will include the Citizens Bank security Robot, Cub Scouts, Boy and Girls Scouts and possibly have representation from an equestrian group.
“I’m proud of what Johnston High School Homecoming has been and continues to be,” Polisena, a 1972 grad, offered. “There’s no other school celebration like this in the state. I’ve got my wrestling jacket ready to go; even after all these year it still fits me. We’re going to have lots of fun Saturday.”
Once the parade concludes, many JHS grads, students and friends will enjoy the annual Alumni Breakfast at 11 o’clock that will again be prepared and served by the Johnston Lions Club and co-sponsored by the JHS Student Council and PTSO.
Kickoff for the Panthers’ football game vs. visiting Mount Pleasant High’s Kilties is 1:30 p.m. with the coronation of the Homecoming King and Queen scheduled for halftime inside Mayor Joseph M. Polisena Stadium.
The Homecoming Queen candidates, who have been voted by their JHS peers, are: Ana Petrella, Emily Raposo, Breana Podmaska, Maikou Kue and Elizabeth Cruz. King candidates are: Jordan Oliveira, David Pingitore, Manny Laurenco, Nick Gallo and Shaheer Jamil.
Petrillo, who designed the official four-page Homecoming Program, announced that the 2018 King and Queen will be crowned at halftime of the football after they’ve been escorted onto the playing field by a student of their choice. The Homecoming Dance will begin at 7:30 p.m. and continue until 10:30.
“It has been quite the week here at JHS,” Russo related. “The entire student body did an incredibly great job during Spirit Week. Everyone enjoyed the theme days; each one was special.”