Homecoming: A reunion unlike any other


Cade Skuse

Last year’s Homecoming King and Queen Riley Adams and Melissa Keith crown Maxwell Ujhazy and Baylee Stewart as this year’s Homecoming King and Queen.

On Sept. 13 and 14, Freedom hosted its annual Homecoming Festival. The pep rally and the annual Homecoming Dance took place on Sept. 13 and the 5K run, parade, activities, football game, a bonfire and fireworks on Sept. 14. 

“The idea of homecoming came up around 5 years ago when Anna Maria Folmar had the vision to turn homecoming into a festival where students, alumni and the Freedom Area community could come together to celebrate,” homecoming organizer Dale Kline said. “We continue to carry this tradition out in honor of Anna Maria Folmar who sadly passed before she could see her vision come to life”  

The pep rally took place near the end of the school day on Sept. 13. The pep rally, which included all students and faculty on campus, featured the band playing a song during the introduction of the Homecoming Court, along with the Homecoming Court’s traditional dance. The Homecoming Court was under the direction of Kline, who is a past faculty member of Freedom. 

The Homecoming Dance later that night consisted of 242 students. The dance was hosted by the Freedom Area Task Force. The dance consisted of a photo booth, snacks and drinks. At the end of the dance, the Task Force gave out two free winter ball tickets, and gave out $200 in prizes.

The parade took place down the main street of Freedom at 2 p.m. on Sept. 14. The parade started with high school assistant principal Steven Mott and the mascot, worn by junior Ethan Wolfe, leading the parade, followed by the “Big Red” Marching Band. After the band, the Homecoming Court drove through, throwing candy and waving at bystanders. The high school cheerleaders, along with the middle and elementary school cheerleaders, marched through after. The boys and girls soccer team also joined in on the fun, riding along on a trailer pulled by a tractor.

After the parade, students, faculty, alumni and community members gathered on campus ground to walk around the various booths, games and food available. 

Various clubs and organizations such as Drama Club, Robotics Club, Naturalist Club, Freedom Cares Foundation, PAC, Freedom Area Education Association and Freedom Lil’ Bulldogs and Cheerleaders, set up booths in front of the middle and elementary schools. Some of the activities included a golf ball drop, inflatable bouncy castle, golf ball driving contest, an air soccer game and a dunk tank.

“My favorite part about homecoming was the dance, but I loved the dance, festival and all the moments with the court,” senior Maxwell Ujhazy said. 

Seniors Natalie Dubovi, Jalynn Falk, Kelsee Goehring, Julianna Hawk, Myah Hrinko, Shyann Komara, Ashley Rose, Madison Snavely, Baylee Stewart, Morgan Swab, Tyler Borgman, Nolan Colaric, Casey Collins, Dylan Goodrich, Adam Hessler, Matthew Levenson, Cole Skuse, Ujhazy, Noah Valles and Charles White were all on the Homecoming Court.

Aubrey Capehart, daughter of Dean of Students John Capehart, was this years Homecoming Princess alongside Preston Deal, the son of high school principal William Deal, being this year’s Homecoming Prince. 

The Homecoming Ceremony started with the marching band playing pre-game, which was then followed by the introductions of the Homecoming Court. At the end of the ceremony,  Stewart and Ujhazy were crowned Homecoming Queen and King, respectively,  by last year’s Queen and King, alumni Melissa Keith and Riley Adams.

“I am extremely honored to be named homecoming queen this year. Though I was shocked to win, it shows the support that my peers have for me,” Stewart said. 

Twenty minutes after the football game against Mohawk, a bonfire took place between the middle school and high school. Many students and alumni gathered for the bonfire and fireworks afterward. The fireworks at the end sent the night off with a bang to conclude the homecoming festivities. 

“For the upcoming festivals I look forward to bringing the community together, working with another great group of students on the Homecoming court and improving the festival each year while focusing on our students,” Kline said.

The court all pitched in $5 and purchased a $100 gift card. At the reception they all stood and thanked Kline for all of the work that he put in for making homecoming such a success for both the school and community.