The economics of homecoming
Economics is the study of how societies distribute scarce or limited resources to fulfill humans' unlimited wants. If school is our society, then one of students' limited resources is time. Teachers and students are in a race against the clock every day, with teachers searching for the most productivity within the hour and students pushing for less.
Homecoming is a week of festivities and a celebration, but for what purpose? Instruction time is cut for events such as rallies; students are in a commotion over the differences in the school, such as the decorations and costume days — and for what?
For some students at Yuba City High School, homecoming week is "a time when the students can dress up and have fun for a week of making school memories with their friends. Homecoming is a tradition," said senior Tiffani Madison.
Homecoming is a tradition; however, it was a tradition that historically was meant for alumni to return to their alma mater.
Although we keep following some homecoming traditions, the purpose of homecoming has taken on a different meaning. It isn't about celebrating the alumni but igniting school spirit and pride.
Senior Nick McCollum described homecoming as a week "when the fun and creativity of the students is brought forth."
Yet even that meaning is losing its purpose. Sophomore Teyonna Boston said, "Homecoming isn't really necessary, besides getting people excited for the homecoming game."
"It isn't that a homecoming is unnecessary anymore, but whether it is valid," said YCHS teacher Steve Jennings. Unlike years prior, school is no longer the center of a student's life, Jennings said, and with social networking sites and other Internet and television-related things, a student's source of socializing and entertainment has changed.
Based on that modern reality, do we need to have a homecoming? In the economic sense, all homecoming does is waste the school's scarce resources. For example, our Associated Student Body members take valuable time away from their classes, plus their own personal time and funds to publicize homecoming with posters, T-shirts and activities that end up involving less than a quarter of the students.
Class officers decorate our school hallways, following the homecoming theme, only to have their decorations ripped and torn down by the end of the week. With little student involvement and care, homecoming requires an overproduction of the finite resources the school has and leaves that surplus effort to go to waste.
Why even continue, then, celebrating and having a homecoming week?
"It does have a different meaning now, but it is still fun to dress up and have school spirit," said junior Kate Aldrige.
Maddie Collins, a senior, said she thinks that homecoming still has meaning in that it allows friends to have fun together at school and make memories.
Whether the benefits of homecoming outweigh the costs or the costs outweigh the benefits — the answer to that question is up to the teachers and students. For myself, with less than 90 days left in my high school career, I remain indifferent because whatever tradition the school wants to continue to celebrate should be left to lower-classmen and the teachers who will continue to participate in them in the years to come.
Julia Lancaster is a senior at Yuba City High School. Her column appears every six weeks in Education.