Despite pressure from the events unfolding in the news, Langley High School students celebrated homecoming with teenage joy and verve last weekend.
With outdoor school events canceled for the week, the homecoming court was announced during a pep rally held during school on Friday in the school courtyard. The traditional carnival for seniors followed.
The football team drove about 90 minutes to a down state venue to play the game on Saturday, which Madison High School won by a score of 14-7.
More than 1,200 students attended the homecoming dance in the school gym on Saturday night. Some students who had gone into the District of Columbia for a homecoming night dinner were delayed by traffic stops prompted by a down state shooting at about 8 p.m.
After the dance, traffic on I-495 was backed up to Rt. 193 near the high school as police conducted a search for the elusive sniper whose actions have affected the metro area in recent weeks.
CHARLOTTE CHARAPP, a member of Langley’s senior class parent team, said the dance was a big success.
“These kids needed that dance. They said the gym was too hot, but there’s always that complaint,” said Charapp. “They started cooling the gym down that morning.”
Ironically, the team had traveled about 90 minutes to play the football game that morning at a venue in the same general direction that the Saturday night sniper attack occurred.
“It’s just a different lifestyle for these kids,” said Charapp. “They’d like to play on their own turf in their own stadium, but they’re willing to play anywhere. They just want to play,” she said.
News of the shooting was subdued during the event, she said. The parents chaperoning the dance “kept that pretty quiet.”
ELAINE RUSS, SENIOR class faculty advisor, had suggested using a lawn tent at the gym entrance to help with security, and students were asked to enter and leave through the tent. That made it easier to identify party-crashers, said Langley Principal Bill Clendaniel.
He maintained a presence near the gym entrance throughout the evening
Two Fairfax County police cars also monitored the entrance to the parking lot.
The tent “made a nice appearance,” Charapp said.
“It was used for security. It was extremely efficient to guard the area. It is where the ticket-takers and ticket sellers were.”
“The kids didn’t keep on coming in and out, in and out. Once they were in, they were in,” she said. “It was a fabulous idea.”
Food, water, and punch were distributed at the main gym entrance.
On Friday, the king, queen and senior court were named at a pep rally held at the field during the school day.
Charlotte Cowdry was homecoming queen and Alex Koplow was the king. Homecoming court members were Amanda Grevey and Meghan Trossen.