Avon Grove Homecoming extols the event’s return after two years10/11/2021 10:16PM ● By Steven Hoffman
When it comes to celebrating homecoming, the folks at Avon Grove High School know how to pull out all the stops. This year, they were especially ready to outdo themselves because, as Principal Scott DeShong noted in his welcoming speech, they missed it so much from last year’s cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic that they were really ready.
On Oct. 9, the big highlight was the afternoon football game with Bishop Shanahan High School, during which Avon Grove played well but fell short of a victory.
But there was much more to this homecoming, not only on Saturday, but during the preceding week. All through Spirit Week, the student body enjoyed themed days, during which they engaged in playful activities and competitions that brought them close together and raised their enthusiasm for the coming weekend.
Along came early Saturday morning and a 5K run invited competitors to come out for some fun exercise. Shortly thereafter, many student groups set up little vendor stations in a roped off section of the parking lot and raised money and enthusiasm for their particular interest groups.
The stations were varied and creative. The girls’ soccer team had a small wooden labyrinth that enabled visitors to engage in a faux game of soccer. Another group sold apples on a stick dipped in a variety of sweet syrups. There was a dunk tank and a game of cornhole. The new Future Farmers of America group, resurrected from years past, held a petting zoo staffed by several goats. Meanwhile music department supporters, as usual, flipped hamburgers to support fundraising for equipment and programs.
The homecoming parade started shortly after 11 a.m. and could be heard minutes earlier by the sound of fire truck sirens joining them on the trek from the middle of West Grove to the school campus.
One after another, the floats came, showcasing the many clubs and classes at the high school.
Shortly after the parade, many of the parade onlookers assembled at the stadium to honor the 2021 parade marshal – a popular teacher chosen annually by the student body. This year it was recently retired art teacher George Janavel.
In his acceptance speech, he shared his enduring love of Avon Grove High School.
“I can’t get this school out of my system – I wake up from sleep and I’m still teaching,” he said.
“My career has been a love affair. I love being here. … Avon Grove works with the community – brings back people from the community. It is blessed by the community that supports it,” he continued.
Also at the post-parade festivities, the members of the Homecoming Court were announced and they greeted the crowd.
Seniors Brin Nartey and Drew Nutt were named queen and king, respectively.
In the court were juniors Caleb Southerland and Sophie Herman; sophomores Kevin Picard and Eva Pfaff; and freshmen Nathan Davis and Bella Basciani.
The day concluded with the homecoming dance.
The football game
The Bishop Shanahan marching band presented its game-time show just before the kickoff. Their football team, the Eagles, won by a score of 21 – 7.
Just five minutes into the game, Bishop Shanahan scored seven points following a 45-yard pass play. The Eagles followed up with a successful point-after kick.
With six minutes left in the first quarter, Avon Grove succeeded in matching Bishop Shanahan’s scoring drive with a touchdown and extra point. It was tied.
Bishop Shanahan ended the second quarter with another touchdown and point after on a pass reception with less than a minute left in the half.
In the third quarter, the Eagles recovered a fumble and ran the ball 25 yards in to bring their score to 21.
Play continued in the fourth quarter, but without a touchdown.