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Students may think that their proms and graduation ceremonies mark the last time they will spend time together on campus. But there will likely be many more opportunities for students to proudly wear their school colors and cheer for their alma maters.
Homecoming parades, dances and sporting events offer opportunities for recent grads to return to the hallowed halls of their schools. The origins of homecoming celebrations may be traced to a 1911 football game at the University of Missouri. However, Baylor University and the University of Illinois also take credit for homecoming traditions.
Typically homecoming is the start of a spirit week designed to boost the morale of students and athletes alike. Homecoming also may signal the first game home after teams have been on the road. Homecoming celebrations are often built around football games, but basketball and hockey also have shared the homecoming spotlight.
Homecoming enables current and former students to celebrate and display their pride for their schools. Celebrations may include parades, rallies, speeches, and dances. Homecoming festivities also may serve to have alumni mingle and network with others who have sat in the same classrooms and played on the same fields.
Some schools elect homecoming courts, which include homecoming kings and queens, as well as accompanying princes and princesses. Students who are elected to the court are usually heavily involved in school activities. The court may participate in a parade that includes floats and music from the school's marching band.
Homecoming dances tend to be a culmination of homecoming festivities at the end of the spirit week. Students are welcome to attend, and alumni from past years often show up as well. The dance may include a banquet, in which particular students are recognized for their efforts. Alumni may be asked to deliver speeches or hand out awards.
Homecoming is celebrated across much of North America, among both high school and college students. It is a special time to rekindle relationships with one's school and show off pride in one's alma mater.