There was no shortage of school pride this week at Downers Grove North High School as students celebrated homecoming.
Some of the festivities included dress-up days, a free drive-in movie, a scavenger hunt at participating downtown businesses, a food drive, a variety show in which students put their talents on display, an assembly with class competitions, the football game and a dance.
The theme for this year’s celebration, which runs through Sept. 30, is “Neverland.”
Mark Mirandola, Downers Grove North’s director of student activities, enjoys helping coordinate the week of fun-filled activities.
“The assembly especially is just an awesome opportunity to bring students together and really just ultimately celebrate them,” Mirandola said. “And then throughout the week there are all these easy, carefree opportunities for every student to really get involved whether it’s going to a drive-in movie or dressing up or just being with their friends and feel like they can participate in some way.”
Homecoming dress-up themes included “Barbie vs. Ken” on Monday, “Never Grow Up” on Tuesday, “Peter Pan and Tinkerbell” on Wednesday and “Fairies vs. Pirates” on Thursday. Friday’s “Purple Out” invites students to wear the color to school and that night’s football game.
Barbie was the star of the show Monday night. Students and staff enjoyed a screening of the live-action film as part of the school’s newest homecoming tradition – a drive-in movie.
“This will be our fourth year. It’s gotten more and more popular every year,” Mirandola said of the drive-in movie.
Friday is one of the busier days of homecoming week. Festivities include the Trojan Marching Band welcoming students and staff into the building before school and an afternoon assembly followed by the traditional homecoming parade. The Trojans football team takes on York at 7:30 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to wear purple for the game’s Purple Out theme.
The week culminates with Saturday’s annual homecoming dance in the Purple Gym, including a full fireworks display at the conclusion of the dance.
Downers Grove North senior Lola Bogwill has been involved in homecoming planning activities since her sophomore year through both student council and the 2024 Class Board. She was elected vice president of the student council her junior year.
“Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Mr. Mirandola and assume many more leadership roles within the school,” Bogwill said.
Homecoming proves to be an especially busy time of year for her.
“I help out with deciding the theme and spirit days, what decorations and props to order, snacks to have at the dance, decorations and this year planning the assembly,” Bogwill said.
The best part of the week for her?
“I can’t bring myself to pick just one thing,” Bogwill said. “So my favorite part is everything that happens on Friday. I come in early wearing my cheer uniform and decorate the common areas of the school with the student council. As vice president, I make sure that everything is set up properly and all members have a job.”
This year, she also has the honor of emceeing Friday’s homecoming assembly.
“I am so excited,” Bogwill said. “There will be a cheer performance during the assembly, so I will do that and get back to emceeing.”
She also will walk in the homecoming parade with the cheer team and cheer at Friday’s football game.
“Which is always so much fun,” Bogwill said. “We only have three home games this year, so we really have to make the most out of every game.”
She loves seeing her classmates’ enthusiasm for the week’s activities.
“Lots of students really enjoy dressing up for spirit days and seeing how far others are willing to go,” Bogwill said. “Everyone also gets very excited for the assembly. And most importantly, the dance. Students love seeing how we decorated the space and dancing along with the deejay. I absolutely love seeing everyone in the school spirit. It just makes me so happy. I really do love seeing DGN come together and support one another.”
The full lineup of homecoming activities can be found at https://www.csd99.org/dgn/news/1773092/dgn-announces-details-of-the-2023-neverland-homecoming.