Will HOCO Be a No-Go?

An Inside Scoop on Homecoming with Mrs. Rowser

Will HOCO Be a No-Go?

Jancy Suber, Writer

The CHS Student Council have been hard at work planning, organizing, designing, and ordering supplies with the hope that Homecoming 2020 will go as planned. Under the guidance of Mrs. Kenya Rowser, students strategize about ways to make this year’s events both fun and safe amid a global pandemic.

Who exactly is Mrs. Rowser and how did she assume this role? Mrs. Rowser has been teaching at Cartersville High School for six years. Her background is in Chemical Engineering. She was a chemical engineer for nearly thirteen years before becoming a math teacher here at Cartersville High School for her first year. She has been teaching engineering at the school for five years. She is originally from Jacksonville, Florida. She went to college in Tallahassee and from there her first job was in Pensacola, where she met her husband Sid. From there they moved to Birmingham and then to the Atlanta area, where they have lived for the past thirteen years.


“As it relates to what I do, I kind of always, in my heart have been a teacher. From the moment I graduated from high school, I mentored, volunteered in children/youth ministries at my church and tutored. I have always been a teacher at heart. I’ve always loved mentoring and going into various local schools to give speeches about what it takes to achieve academic success. But aside from that I’ve always been in touch with the little kid inside of me. I’m always thinking in terms of what would be fun. What would others consider fun and exciting to do? Everything I do, I like to do it big.  I never like to do the same things. I enjoy the challenge! At times, it drives the SGA students crazy when I throw multiple ideas around for them to consider. They’re like “Wait, calm down Mrs. Rowser, you’re doing the most.”

(JS): When did you take the responsibility of planning Homecoming?

(KR): This is my third year. Ms. Templeton did it for many years. I began helping her during her last year of teaching. The following year when she retired, I assumed full responsibility of planning the events alongside the students of SGA.

(JS): How long in advance is Homecoming planned? 

(KR): Typically, homecoming occurs at the end of September, so we have about a month to plan. This year, COVID-19 pushed everything back about three weeks. Although this allowed us more time to meet and plan, we had to consider certain safety protocols. There are so many details even without a health crisis, so this year we had to pay close attention to everything. The students began by discussing and voting on overall themes. Once a theme is chosen, they decide on individual class themes and dress-up days. Next, they began designing t-shirts and sketching float designs to reflect the chosen theme. The student’s level of creativity always blows me away! Once designs are finalized, students create digital images of their t-shirts for ordering and provide a detailed list of supplies for their class floats to the parent volunteers of PTC.  I’m not sure if students realize that their Homecoming t-shirts and floats are totally designed by their class officers. The week leading up to Homecoming, SGA students are extremely busy, collecting t-shirt orders, hanging posters, painting banners, organizing the parade and halftime show, and ensuring that all participants are well informed. Over the weekend, students decorate the school with banners and streamers and make final arrangements for float building. So, to sum it all up, the student council has a huge responsibility to ensure the success of Homecoming. They put a lot of time, effort, and creativity into planning all the events.”

(JS): How has COVID-19 affected the Homecoming planning for the 2020-2021 school year? 

(KR): Planning, honestly it hasn’t really changed in terms of how often we met. In terms of what we planned for has certainly changed. For example, very early on the administrators informed us that the possibility of a dance would be slim, so the students and I went into overdrive trying to think about how we could have the dance safely. The first idea was maybe we could have the dance in the courtyard, and that didn’t work. Then the second idea was maybe we could have a jam session in the student parking lot where we could decorate the parking lot with lots of lights. Ultimately, the dance was cancelled. This was a huge blow to the students. So, we began to turn our attention to the Bonfire, perhaps inviting the DJ there to play music and spread out from the practice field all the way to the parking lot for social distancing. Unfortunately, it was also canceled as well. In the end, we tried to focus on each grade level and make it fun, focusing on dress up days, float building and the parade to keep the homecoming spirit and traditions alive.

(JS): Normally, what does Homecoming consist of? How will this year’s Homecoming be different than previous years? 

(KR): Homecoming consists of the dress up, themed days. It incorporates float building from Monday to Wednesday after school. The floats are judged by leaders in the community from a list of criteria. The parade is held on Thursday and we have many students like cheerleaders, JROTC, the band, the middle school football team, a dance company called the Diamond Divas, the Homecoming court, and the football players walk in the parade. About two hundred to two hundred and fifty students participate. Starting last year, they had the bonfire after the parade. This allowed for the community to participate. On Friday, you have the half-time show with the Homecoming Court where the king and queen are crowned. And then we end the evening with the dance with a live DJ in the Storm Center.

(JS): What festivities can students look forward to this year? 

(KR): This year students can look forward to the festive dress up days. It is always fun when more people participate, and we like to see when they take pictures and post them. That’s always fun! Float building is also a memorable time because it’s where the class comes together to achieve one massive goal. A sense of comradery and teamwork is quickly formed. It’s a fun time for both students and parents. The class becomes closer together and more in sync. They all have one task and that is to win and build the best float. They love marching down Main Street during the parade, having everyone cheer them on, me included. I probably scream the loudest of all because I know the work they put in. It’s definitely a proud moment!

(JS): As the person in charge of Homecoming, how has the pandemic made you feel? How has it affected the way in which you go about handling all your responsibilities? 

(KR): The pandemic has made me be very cautious and careful. Even when I’m teaching and I’m further than six feet from my students, I always have my mask on. It is not comfortable, but it’s necessary. I remind my students when they’re doing group work to remember to wear their mask when they can’t socially distance. I constantly remind my students the mask goes on your face and not to put it under your nose. I take proper safety precautions in my classroom. I have a bottle of hand sanitizer and I wipe down every desk. I wipe and spray down everything after every class. We don’t want to have any germs from the virus.

(JS): What are any thoughts or comments you have regarding Homecoming this year? 

(KR): Last week I had a meeting with the football players and the sponsors on the Homecoming Court and I asked them “Who’s excited?” and not everybody was ready. And I knew why that was. With the things we are doing this week, we want everybody to be excited, engaged, and we want them to enjoy it. We get to celebrate this moment in history where we get to welcome back past classes back. The Homecoming provides a sense of Canes Pride. In the community, it’s a wide thing. It’s a feeling of Homecoming spirit.