Johnston students eagerly await this weekend's Homecoming festivities



That word, which is featured in oversized Panther blue letters and displayed on a white banner that stretches across the entrance of Johnston High School, says it best about the most unique and unmatched tradition as far as school social and sports events in Rhode Island are concerned.

There’s a week full of events entitled “Spirit Week” that began Monday and will continue through Saturday evening with the always fun-filled homecoming dance and this year in keeping with tradition was coordinated and presented the JHS Student Council. This year’s council is is led by President Rebecca Clements, Vice President Charles Curci, Corresponding Secretary Janet Clements and Recording Secretary Melanie Capraro.

Spirit Week has also included different themes for each day — Pattern Day, Pirate Day, Western Day, First Responders Day, Blue & White Day White Day — and has a competition for the best creative costumes worn by students in all four JHS classes with the results announced at halftime of Saturday’s football game vs. Pilgrim High’s Patriots.

“Each year we depend on the faculty to vote for their choice of best dressed student during Spirit Week,” Russo explained. “The winning student receives a cash prize on behalf of the Student Council.”

Yet another terrific treasure of Homecoming is students building their themed floats for Saturday’s parade that steps off at 10 a.m. from the JHS parking lot and includes mighty musicians of the award-winning Marching Panther Band, musicians, spectacular student-decorated floats and countless spectators who will watch what people have through the years called “Johnston’s answer to the famed Rose Bowl Parade.”

Likewise, JHS Homecoming is known as a “Rite of Fall on Cherry Hill” with the crowning King and Queen that will have been determined by a secret ballot vote.

In the middle of it all is Johnston High School’s “Mr. Popular Panther” — a.k.a. Greg Russo — who chairs the JHS Science Department Chair and serves as Student Council Advisor and has again helped coordinate the 2021 chapter of Panther Pride that many people proclaim is a tradition unlike any other throughout the state’s school community.

“Everyone is more excited than ever about Homecoming,” Russo, who decked out in a spiffy pirate’s costume for Tuesday’s theme day, offered. “We couldn’t have Homecoming last year because of the COVODI-19 Pandemic. This time, everything and everyone is really excited.”

Russo also said that the winning float will be announced at halftime of the Panther vs. Patriots contest and on display outside Mayor Joseph M. Polisena Stadium after the parade and football game.

“The Homecoming Dance will be held from 8 to 11 p.m.,” Russo said. “And, we’re all hoping it will be a victory dance, as well.”


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