Niles West homecoming revelers party like it’s 2012
Niles West junior Joerlyn Manalang wears pajamas while walking through a hallway at the school during Spirit Week that is part of Homecoming week on Oct. 1 in Skokie. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 3, 2012 1:36AM
SKOKIE — High school homecoming: a week-long celebration marked by pep rallies, dress-up days, sporting events, and ... zombies?
Niles West High School put a new twist on a timeless tradition by dubbing this year’s annual festivities, held Oct. 1-6, as a “Party ‘Til the End.”
Inspired by supposed Mayan prophecy that Earth would suffer a doomsday in 2012, students are showing off their red-and-white pride in a fabricated post-apocalyptic world.
“This is exciting and new,” Niles West Student Activities Director Jessica Ogulnik said of the theme. “They can be silly.”
“We figured it would be neat,” agreed senior Stephanie Tana, of Lincolnwood.
A hallway-decorating competition between the classes set the mood earlier in the week, as one area of the school imagined a world consumed by floodwaters.
Students kept up customs, too, dressing in sleepwear on Oct. 1 and sporting crazy hairdos on Oct. 3.
On pajama day, “I always wear my slippers,” noted Lincolnwood senior Michelle Martinez.
Oct. 3 was dedicated to dynamic duos, which was subject to interpretation. For some that meant dressing up as original Caped Crusader pair Batman and Robin. Others thought along the lines of peanut butter and jelly, or Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother.
By today (Oct. 4) the walking dead and other non-human creatures would overrun Niles West for Zombies versus Aliens Day.
Senior Ella Paratusic, of Lincolnwood, said homecoming week activities cater to a diverse student body.
“It’s something everyone can participate in,” she said.
School dismisses early Oct. 5 for the capstone events of homecoming week, beginning with a parade that winds through downtown Skokie.
Starting at 1:40 p.m. in the Niles West parking lot off Oakton Street, students will travel by foot and float north on Gross Point Road, south on Lincoln Avenue to Oakton Street, then west on Oakton and south on Gross Point Road until they reach the Niles West south lot.
Later junior and senior girls do battle in a powder-puff football game at 3 p.m., and Wolves Varsity football players take on New Trier at 7 p.m.
Niles West graduates are invited to meet with former classmates in an alumni tent before the game beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the southwest corner of Mike Basrak Stadium, 5701 W. Oakton.
The week culminates the night of Oct. 6 with the homecoming dance, where teens in fancy dresses and suits are expected to mingle and move amid a creepy backdrop of Chicago some time after the apocalypse.
Ogulnik said while she expects some zombie sightings at the dance, most students are “more concerned with looking good than undead.”
“A Night in Paris” was the theme Niles North High School’s 2012 homecoming week, held Sept. 15-22.
Despite light rain on Sept. 21, students and community members participated in a parade down Lawler Avenue following a pep assembly, where Skokie’s Sabir Ahamed and Karoline Ross were named king and queen of the homecoming court.
The school’s Indo Pak Club, Assyrian Club, Korean Club, and — fittingly — French Club won the banner-decorating contest.
A firework display later that night capped the Vikings’ victory over Maine East in a varsity football game.
Niles North Student Activities Director Kevin Monahan said the school has “never had a homecoming so great.”
“We were really proud with our students throughout the week with their behavior and excitement and support for each other,” he said.