The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Homecoming Coverage: Aladdin Freshmen and Bikini Bottom Sophomores

By Staff Writers Pradyumn Acharya, Varun Upadhyay, Mingxin Wang, & Jessica Yu

Homecoming is a time to celebrate airbands, performances, and above all, class spirit. Unfortunately, due to the unforeseen distance learning, class officers and airband leaders have had to navigate new obstacles such as filming, editing, practicing over Zoom, and keeping spirits high amongst performers. L2’s Homecoming Multicultural Committee (HCMC) prepared games and activities such as Team Karaoke, Jackbox, and Jeopardy, while upholding the annual tradition of introducing Homecoming Court during the kickoff assembly. After a week of class spirit days and performances, L2 capped off Homecoming 2021 with the annual tradition of Homecoming Unity Day.

From soliciting old footage and photos to create compilations for each class to stitching together airband footage into class videos, the newly-formed Videography Committee played an integral role in making this Homecoming possible. The three-person team, composed of Committee Head Senior Katy Lee, Senior Katherine Zhang, and Junior Alicia Wang, faced many obstacles, but their biggest was creating a video that appealed to everybody. “This is also our first year [of] the videography committee. I definitely think we can use this as a way to show that we can use videos and a lot of the virtual aspects of the homecoming we had last year to capture more memories in future homecoming[s] so people can watch it for years to come,” Lee said.

Class of 2023

Despite the many challenges they faced while organizing airbands virtually, the Class of 2023 rallied together to put on a show-stopping virtual homecoming. Opening their performance with the infamous SpongeBob SquarePants catchphrase, “Aye aye, Captain,” the Sophomores of Bikini Bottom hooked viewers instantly with their yellow-tinted graphics and Nickelodeon-themed music. 

Their performance began with a nostalgic recap video of their Hip-Hop, Lyrical, and Bollywood airbands as Freshmen Avengers. “My favorite part of their performance was seeing the old video of their freshmen Bollywood airband. Seeing it over video again was really hype,” Senior Class Vice President Hasika Sridhar said. 

Following the recap video, the sophomore Singing airband put on a standout performance, covering well-known pop songs such as Jessie J’s “Flashlight” and Shawn Mendes’s “Wonder.” Before their homecoming day, the Singing airband prepared for months, distributing sheet music and practicing harmonies through Zoom. “I was really surprised and excited that it had worked and that the Singing airband pulled it together. It was a struggle and more work than I expected, so I’m glad it was a success,” Sophomore Singing Airband Co-Leader Brian Loh said. 

“It was definitely different. It was really difficult to really get everyone motivated. I know a lot of people dropped out, and we were the last airband to perform, so it was hard to get everyone on board with the idea.” — Ella Lym, 10 

The Sophomore Class Officers expressed their contentment with this year’s homecoming as well, reflecting on the rocky path it took for them to organize the entire performance. “A lot of people were really excited about joining airbands, and to see a lot of people quit after the school year started was difficult. Ultimately, I think our singing airband was really talented and exceeded our expectations, which with the pandemic, were crushed,” Sophomore Class Treasurer Serena Cai said.

View the Class of 2023 performance below.

Class of 2024

Although they had no prior experience, the Aladdin Freshmen pulled off an entertainingly energetic virtual performance for their first-ever homecoming.

Before starting their performances, the Freshmen Class Officers took a moment to recognize the airband leaders and other participants for their hard work in banding together during distance learning. “Although none of our airbands will be officially performing this year, we still want to commemorate the efforts that our airband leaders and members have put into their performances, from finding music, to choreography, to practicing, and much more,” said Freshman Class President Amanda Deng.  

The Aladdin Freshmen began their performance with a showcase of their energetic Bollywood airband. With 37 members, the Freshmen put up an impressive display of participation and effort as they danced in unison to classic Bollywood songs such as “Bole Chudiyan,” “Nagada Sang Dhol,” and “Badtameez Dil.” While their first homecoming was anything but ordinary, the Freshmen remained enthusiastic about their performance. “Although we ended up performing online, I thought it was super cool and truly amazing to see our vision put into reality,” Freshman Bollywood Airband Co-Leader Varsha Sathish said.

Following the Bollywood airband, the Aladdin Freshmen featured their enthusiastically entertaining Hip-Hop group with their dazzling choreography  to groovy songs such as “MICHUUL,” and “Magnolia.”  The Lyrical and Kpop airbands were also featured, with their mesmerizing routines highlighting the talent and effort put into their unforgettable performance. To end their Freshmen Homecoming Day, the Freshmen Class Officers left viewers with a profound message — “It is important to remember that the spirit of Homecoming is not in the shows or competition but in our spirit and class unity,” said Freshman Class Treasurer Katie Tang. 

“I think as a freshman, it’s interesting seeing how virtual homecoming has unfolded, and hopefully, I’ll be able to experience a real one next year. All the classes did a really great job overall, and I thought it was interesting to see how homecoming has worked in previous years.” — Elton Yu, 9

Despite having to push through challenges during virtual practice sessions such as unceasing Zoom glitches and unstable WiFi, the Aladdin Freshmen were able to put up an impressive display of school spirit and enthusiastic dancing which made for an incredibly entertaining performance to watch. “The freshmen, who had never experienced a homecoming, still came together and created something memorable. It makes me really excited to see future homecoming performances by the class of 2024,” said ASB Secretary Senior Janista Person.

View the Class of 2024 performance below.

Cover image by Staff Writer Nishi Bhagat & Cover graphic elements by Centerspread Editors Lily Oh & Amanda Pang

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