Photo courtesy of the CSS Alumni Association.

Homecoming: Then and Now

Emily Kiemele
ekiemele@css.edu

   As this year’s homecoming events are in full swing, it is fun to look back on the changes that have been made over the years and all of the history behind welcoming Saints home. Thanks to the Alumni Relations department on campus, there is plenty to be learned about the history of our homecoming.

    This year marks ten years of official homecoming for CSS, however, bringing alumni back to campus has been going on for much longer. Scholastica’s first official newspaper, the Scriptorium, started in 1932, so it’s difficult to discern what homecoming was like prior to that. We do know that homecoming used to be part of spring graduation when alumni would come home to St. Scholastica to celebrate.

    In 1949 homecoming switched to the fall season. This year was the 25th anniversary of CSS being a senior college, so they celebrated accordingly with the movie “Your Alma Mater,” a picnic lunch, organ recital, and a banquet at which Mother Athanasius spoke.

    In 1975, the Daily – the second student announcement service – reported an annual reunion for alumni in June. Later that year came the fall festival which included activities such as Mr. CSS, a talent show, a dance, Halloween themed mass, soccer games, movie night, and an all school picnic. The next year, in 1976, the first alumni hockey game in Saints history was held.

    In 1979, the first annual homecoming was named in The Cable which was started two years prior. Several hundred alumni registered to come home from around the country. Parents’ weekend was the same weekend as homecoming, which is still the tradition. Activities included an old time film festival, talent show, comedian, soccer game, homecoming dance, and an all school church service and picnic.

    1989 was the first themed homecoming: Decade Decadence. The events this year included a BBQ and dance, tug of war, powder puff, bonfire, Mr. CSS, staff vs. students basketball tournament, volleyball game, pep rally, soccer game and spaghetti dinner. The themes following this year included exciting titles like “Hip Happenin’ 90’s” and “Discover the West at CSS!”

    In 1994, homecoming was renamed Fall Fest. The reasoning behind the change was that ‘homecoming’ is traditionally associated with football, and CSS did not have a team at the time. Homecoming activities were not traditionally well attended, so the switch to Fall Fest was also an effort to improve attendance. The activities included a carnival, Mr. CSS (which was cancelled due to only one male student signing up), all school picnic, root beer kegger, bonfire, movie, dance, sporting events and talent show.

    In 2008, the football program started and homecoming was raised with the theme: Ignite the Tradition. Events incorporated those that were a part of Fall Fest and parents’ weekend like the talent show and dance. The crowning became gender neutral in 2016. Annual activities include a hypnotist, movie night, chili feed, talent show, parade, tailgate party, soccer and volleyball games, family fun, football game, and dance. Themes of the past have included Paint the Town Blue, Saints Unleashed, Storm of the Century, Towering Above the Rest, Saints Unleashed, Who Let the Dogs Out?, Saints Nation, and Storm for President.

    This year, with a theme of Wizarding World of Saints, events went on all week long. The activities included Sorting Hat Ceremony, hall decorating contest, quidditch games, stuff-a-bear, chili feed, talent show, movie night, parade, tailgate party, soccer and football games, and dance.

    Lisa Roseth of the alumni department says the main goal of homecoming is to “engage students,” and that the department is proud the event “represents Benedictine values and has different components so that there is something for everyone.” Alumni are urged to come back and show their school spirit. With so much to do, and so much history behind the event, homecoming is always a time to remember.