My high school didn’t have organized sports, so I never got to experience the excitement and hooplah of pep rallies, homecoming parades and ball games.

That all changed this year. I watched and attended a weeklong series of homecoming festivities at the Math, Science and Arts Academy-West campus in Plaquemine.

There I was yelling “Throw me somethin’ mister” as homecoming court members rode atop convertible Jeeps and Corvettes. I walked through hallways plastered in homecoming movie themes. My favorite and the school’s top pick was the freshman hall’s “Monsters, Inc.”

I watched students form the shape of a school bus during a game of charades at the pep rally.

A walk through the school’s hallways was just as eventful, with freshmen Avery Conerly growling like the shaggy blue monster, “Sulley,” sending children running, and Chassity Washington’s toddler “Boo” eliciting smiles and giggles.

Jade Weber, a freshman who helped create the “Monsters, Inc.” decorations, was amazed by her classmates’ work. “When I walked down the hallway, it felt like we were in a movie,” she said. “The little kids loved it.”

Similar to the magnet school that I attended, MSA also has no football or basketball programs. But MSA students said that didn’t make their homecoming less exciting.

“A lot of people are used to homecoming, including the football games, but we make up for it with our pep rallies, dances, games and hall-decorating contests and dress-up days,” said Lyia Higgs, a senior who is Miss MSA.

Activities ranged from school spirit day to superhero dress-up days to pajama day.

On Powder Puff game day, high school girls played flag football while the boys took on the cheerleading roles.

“All of the activities bring the classes together and it creates a warm environment,” said Higgs.

Freshman Saige Pelichet said her favorite homecoming moment was “making the (Powder Puff) touchdown and pulling the flag” and listening to the guys chanting, “What do we want? TD!”

For Zoie Spears, freshman class president and a homecoming court member, getting ready for the dance was a first.

“This was our first homecoming dance, and it’s the night where every girl gets to take time to get her hair and nails done and feel like a princess,” she said.

Freshman student Lakyn Morales, agreed, even though only a week before she lost her dad. She says she drew strength from her classmates and teachers.

“I helped my teacher set up for the pep rally. The homecoming dance was fun … and I loved the way my friends lifted me up again so quickly,” she said. “Friends are a key ingredient to having a great homecoming.”

Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. She can be reached at