First outdoor Homecoming at Dodge Park ends in success


Lara Tinawi, Reporter

After eighteen months of anticipation, UAIS and Student Senate hosted their first Homecoming dance since the pandemic. The “Starry, Starry Night” themed dance took place at Dodge Park in the Farmer’s Market Pavilion last Saturday night from 6-9pm.

Originally, the dance was supposed to take place at the banquet hall Shelby Gardens on October 23rd. After a change in district guidelines, Student Senate was forced to move the dance up and make it outside.

Haley Puri and Julie Safo were this year’s Homecoming heads responsible for creating the vision brought to life on Saturday. Puri especially enjoyed the collaborative aspect.

“My favorite part was just getting to plan with Mrs. Khan and my cohead Julie (Safo)!” Puri said. “The both of them made everything an enjoyable experience, especially with finding decorations for our themes.”

Students had a great time at Homecoming as well.

“The dance floor was full of energy and everyone there was so welcoming even though I didn’t know most of the people,” Essa Saeed said. “I was able to make a lot of new friends and it was very nice to be able to hang out with upperclassman, which doesn’t happen often.”

The feeling was mutual in the senior class, and seniors were the only grade allowed to invite guests. Jasmine Watford brought her best friend from Utica High School, Maycie Kadrich.

“Overall, I really enjoyed how exciting it was, and everyone had a good time,” Watford said. “Maycie really liked homecoming and she didn’t feel left out because she has a lot of people she knows here. We were two hot gals.”

One of the only complaints about Homecoming echoed throughout the school was about the DJ. Though he did a good job, the constant switch between breakup songs by Olivia Rodrigo and throwbacks that make the whole school throwdown were disorienting to students. Though it is rare anyone ever comes home from an event and goes “that DJ was GREAT,” different music entertainment might be worth looking into for future Homecomings. Luckily, some students were able to witness Mr. Hume toss out some amazing dance moves that left them stunned.

Many friend groups from all grades went to Dodge Park beforehand to take pictures. Most students typically go to Mae Stecker Park beforehand in normal Homecoming years to take pictures. This year, having the dance at Dodge Park provided a beautiful background and a convenient short walk to the venue from pictures. One feature in many group pictures is the Dodge Park Bridge that leads to the trails, which was popular as usual.

Students’ outfits varied from long to short dresses, pant suits, a typical suit, and even a bathrobe! Students were allowed access to a free photo booth, and now have mementos to remember this fun night by.