SHERIDAN – Last week members of the Sheridan school district and community came together for 2012 Sheridan Panthers Homecoming, taking advantage of the opportunity to celebrate their school spirit by cheering a little louder and spreading Panther pride around town.
During the parade on Thursday afternoon, the school’s sports teams enjoyed a brief moment in the spotlight as they cruised up and down Main Street on fire engines, flat-bed trucks and even a riding lawnmower. Students tossed generous amounts of candy to spectators scattered up and down Main Street, but were pleasantly surprised when some of the community members tossed a handful of candy back at them. After all, homecoming is a celebration of the students.
Later on that evening, the students came out to the football field for a wacky relay race involving footballs, volleyballs, undergarments and a pie plate filled with gummy worms. And while the competition between classes was friendly, it reminded students that sometimes its okay to just have fun and be a kid.
Following the relay races and pep rally, the students proceeded to light a bonfire that grew high into the night sky as the sun set behind it. While the kids sang, laughed, and danced around the blaze, the pride of the school community could be felt from beyond the flickering light cast into the shadows.
Friday’s festivities picked up again with a community breakfast at the school and JV games throughout the afternoon before the evening varsity matchups against Whitehall in volleyball and Ennis in football. While junior Brant Marsh was unable to participate with the football team due to an ankle injury sustained in the Panther’s first game of the season, he was there on the sidelines to support the team just like everyone else.
“The community sees the kids and sees what they’re doing,” Marsh said of the atmosphere surrounding homecoming week in Sheridan. “It definitely feels like morale is up.”
Principal Rodney Stout enjoyed seeing his students turn out to celebrate their school.
“I think the biggest thing is to bring the school and the community together and celebrate those kids, celebrate the sports and the different activities and really to try and build that school spirit that we want to establish,” he said.
“The last couple of years my favorite part of homecoming has been seeing some of the kids that aren’t involved in sports come out and participate in some of the events like the bonfire, powderpuff football, boys volleyball,” Stout continued. “Just to see everybody really participating, not just those kids in athletics.”
The Panthers put up a valiant effort against the Mustangs, but were ultimately overpowered on both sides of the ball. And while the spotlight may not have caught any one member of the team, the Panthers continued to work together throughout the entire game, from a thunderous hit on the Ennis quarterback early in the first quarter to a rumbling rushing touchdown with less than three minutes left to play in the game. The effort put forward by the Panther football team displayed their pride in their school, even if the score didn’t show it.
During halftime the 2012 Sheridan Homecoming Royalty candidates were announced. Seniors Jacob Huffield and Jonnie Lee were named king and queen, while juniors Austin Huttinga and Celeste Hagen, sophomores Sam Wood and Cheyenne Shields and freshmen Dennis Derby and Hanna McParland were also nominated.
As the Panthers came back out on the field for the second half, Marsh explained that sports are a big part of homecoming week in Sheridan, even when they play one of the best teams in the state like Ennis. But he knows the boost in morale that comes along with homecoming is bigger than just a final score.
“I think it’s more than a game,” he said. “It’s the whole community getting involved in the school.”