On October 8, 2016, the annual Helias Homecoming Bonfire took place on Carter Street after the parade. Slowly, after the parade was over, students and alumni alike started to mill into the blocked off section of Carter Street were the festivities were soon to begin. At around 7:45 p.m., Coach Dempsey spoke into the microphone and officially started the bonfire.
First, the band performed the fight song and the alma mater with the cheerleaders. Jordan Cowell and Maura Shimmins directed the choir while the cheerleaders did their routine. After the cheerleaders left the center of attention, the Helias Dance Explosion team took center stage and danced a routine while the band orchestrated the song. The crowd was encouraged to participate. After the first song, the dance team then did a team chant.
Coach Dempsey then took the microphone back and invited the football team captains to come forward and say a few words. Jake Burnett thanked the fans for their support and invited everyone to attend the football game on Saturday. Then Dylan Gaines took the microphone.
“Homecoming isn’t complete unless the football team wins,” said Dylan Gaines, a senior football player, adding, “and we are gonna do that. We need you guys to keep coming out and supporting us through are long run in the playoffs.” Gaines ended his remarks with, “Let’s get it up baby,” which was followed by a thunderous round of applause.
Next, the Helias Dance Explosion came back and preformed a song by the music group Daft Punk which was accompanied by the band. The dance team had to perform in a small area and got very close to the crowd at some points. This however did not stop them from smiling and dancing like they always do. Then, Head Football Coach Tim Rulo was given the mic. He acknowledged the band, the cheerleaders, and the dance team and thanked them for what they did and then he said, “Homecoming is a time to come back and see the awesome things we are doing here. This week has been phenomenal.” Rulo continued, “Every one of you is part of something bigger and I hope that’s what you love about Helias.” He ended with, “We love you guys, thank you so much, and go Saders!”
After that, the Homecoming Court was introduced and the queen, Kayla Yansky, was asked to give a speech. She kept it short by saying, “It’s been fun already, I’m looking forward to the game and the dance and, seniors lets make our last one, our best one.”
At around 8:00 p.m., Coach Chip Malmstrom lit the bonfire with a torch in the construction area that was separated from the crowd by a fence. The fire started off slow but in a few minutes it was a roaring heap of cardboard boxes and scrap wood. Once the fire died down to a slow burn the administration shut off the flood lights previously on and started the firework show. This year it seemed that more fireworks were used and both the students and alumni watched as the fireworks shot up out of the construction zone.
The night closed with the fireworks and slowly everyone went back to their cars. 60 years of homecoming traditions were behind Helias, and more are sure to come.