Windermere High band gets second chance at Homecoming

Windermere High band members missed the school’s October Homecoming dance, so the Student Government Association gave them one of their own.

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  • | 12:51 p.m. January 2, 2020
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For many high schoolers, celebrating Homecoming and participating in the accompanying dance  almost is a rite of passage. 

Homecoming traditions have their origins in the 19th century. In high school, Homecoming week — and the dance at the end of it — both are some of the most anticipated dates of the year.

With this year marking Windermere High’s inaugural Homecoming dance, it was all the more special for the Wolverines who attended it on Oct. 12. But for hundreds of students in the marching band, Homecoming night was about competition.

While their classmates hit the dance floor, members of the band hit the field at Camping World Stadium in Orlando to compete in the Bands of America Orlando Regional Championship. 

Because of the conflicting events, band members weren’t able attend their first Homecoming. That didn’t sit well with junior Samantha Lambourne, vice president of the student body within the Student Government Association.

So, she and fellow SGA officers decided to plan a Homecoming specifically for the band — a “BOCO,” as they called it.

“Our band makes up a huge population: I didn’t realize this, but our band is a lot bigger than other schools’ bands, and it’s about 5 to 10% of our students,” Lambourne said. “I thought that as someone who represents the population in student government, it was kind of my obligation to help represent them and Homecoming.”

Principal Douglas Guthrie approved the idea and the use of the school’s gym as a venue. Because of this, tickets — normally $65 for Homecoming — were only $15 to cover the cost of the DJ and food. 

“I thought that as someone who represents the population in student government, it was kind of my obligation to help represent them and Homecoming.” — Samantha Lambourne

And the band’s Homecoming theme coincided with its competition theme this year — Uncharted Waters. On Dec. 7, as band students made their way to the gym for a Homecoming of their own, they were greeted with the same oceanic theme they knew so well.

“We tried to make (the event) as similar to a Homecoming without it being in a hotel … we knew it wouldn’t be as glamorous, but we wanted to make it the most similar possible experience that we could,” she said. “The same theme that they used the day they missed the regular Homecoming back in October was the theme of their own Homecoming. I think that was the coolest surprise to see those band kids recognize that it was the same theme they used for their competition.”

For Lambourne, the greatest reward was being able to give back to the band with another way for them to join in on a treasured high-school tradition. As she watched the students dance, let loose, socialize and have a good time, she realized it also was an opportunity for celebrating their hard work.

“It was really cool to see kids just have fun and use this as an opportunity to celebrate their amazing season,” she said. “This was the final event they were all together for. A lot of them had expressed how they had felt left out when the original Homecoming had happened, but that this made up for it, that this made them feel connected with the school and the community again, and so I was really glad to hear that.”


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