Avon Grove celebrates Homecoming
● By Steven Hoffman
The picture-perfect fall weather provided a nice backdrop for a full day of activities as the Avon Grove community came together last Saturday to celebrate Homecoming.
The day began with the Red Devil 5K race in the morning. Next, the members of the Homecoming Court—Megan Hepworth, Mitchell Conrad, Jana Klinger, Sarah Hottenstein, Cole Walker and Ryan Rowlands—were featured in a parade along State Road to the school campus. A large crowd gathered along the parade route to watch the festivities, and many of the spectators were wearing the maroon and gold of Avon Grove to show their school spirit.
The Avon Grove High School Marching Band led the parade, followed by members of the Homecoming Court, the cheerleaders, and a line of floats carrying members of various clubs and sports teams. Each high school class decorated a float with a musical theme. The West Grove Fire Company had a large contingent of vehicles in the parade, too.
On the school campus, school groups were operating a wide variety of food and entertainment booths for people to enjoy throughout the day.
As the time for the football game approached, Avon Grove High School athletic director Vanessa Robtison welcomed the crowd to the sports stadium and introduced the members of the Homecoming Court.
Avon Grove High School principal Scott DeShong talked about how great the full week of Homecoming-related activities were.
Martin Campagna, the Student Council President, introduced Shirley Schenker, this year’s selection as the grand marshal of the Avon Grove Homecoming Parade.
Schenker, who retired last year after 30 years in the Avon Grove School District, thanked everyone for the honor of being named the grand marshal for the Homecoming Parade. She talked about how much she enjoyed working in the school district. Even before she embarked on her career as an educator, Schenker was a student-teacher in Avon Grove. She was then hired to teach social studies in the school district, first at the middle school for a year, and then at the high school. For a period of time in the 1990s, she was an assistant principal at the high school, handling the athletic director and activities director responsibilities. After a few years in that role, she decided that she wanted to be back in a classroom where she could work directly with students.
Schenker offered a comparison of what Avon Grove was like when she was first hired and what it was like when she retired.
“When I first came to Avon Grove as a teacher,” she explained, “there were less than 1,000 students here. There were six social studies teachers and there were six different social studies courses.”
At the time of her retirement, Schenker explained, there were 12 social studies teachers and 17 different social studies courses. The high school student population had nearly doubled.
Reflecting on her career as an educator, Schenker said that parents play a very important role in supporting students. She also lauded the school district’s staff for how hard they work to make a difference in the lives of students.
“I was privileged to be part of a team that cared deeply about students,” she said.
Schenker said that, after retiring last year and having some time to reflect on her time at Avon Grove, she misses the students most of all.
“I miss their energy and I miss their inspiration,” she said. “I miss my colleagues, too. Everyone was very supportive. It’s a real community here.”
She concluded her remarks to the crowd by encouraging everyone to, “Keep up that spirit of Avon Grove.”