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Katy ISD Teachers and Alumni Talk Homecoming Traditions and Evolution


September 22, 2022

By Natalie Cook Clark

It’s homecoming season and Katy ISD students, staff, and alumni are excited to welcome the traditions and fanfare that make this seasonal event exceptional.

Photo courtesy: KISD

Most Exciting, Memorable, and Highly Anticipated

“Newcomers need to know that homecoming season is one of the most exciting, memorable, and highly anticipated times during our students´ high school years,” says Kendall Sanchez, a teacher of five years at Mayde Creek High School.” Enjoy every moment of it, take all the pictures, and participate in all the silliness!”

A Time for Alumni Katy ISD teacher Kendall Sanchez has taught at Mayde Creek High School for five years and graduated in 2013 herself. She married a fellow alumnus and they love the tradition.

Alumni return for homecoming.

“I have a deep love for this school and what it represents,” says Sanchez. “What I love most is the display of school spirit during homecoming week by both the students and staffulty (staff + faculty). The creative-themed dress-up days generate a positive school culture that radiates through the building.”

Sanchez remembers how giddy the event made her feel and now enjoys experiencing that as a teacher.

“As a student you don’t really think about the alumni and we were in our own little world thinking of mums, game, and the dance,” says Lauren Gillaspia Skalka, a Taylor High School graduate class of 2002.

Skalka married Matt Skalka, a 2002 Cinco Ranch graduate.

““The day of homecoming is always so exciting showing off the mums and experiencing the pep rally,” says Skalka.

Student Council is an organization that plays a big role in all Katy ISD homecoming. Skalka remembers the spirit and fun of the student officers decorating the school. Kirsten Hampshire has served as the Student Council Advisory for 10 years at Seven Lakes and now two years at Jordan High School.

“My favorite tradition is Green Out Day! On the day of the homecoming game, everyone decks out in our school colors and wears their mums or garters,” says Hampshire. “Each year it is thrilling to see the vastly unique and creative ways that students choose to decorate their mums and show their school pride.”

Her mum in 2013 was considered extravagant, but that tradition continues to grow.

Natalie Cook Clark and mums 1999-2001

“Mums keep getting bigger and bigger in Texas,” says Hampshire.

“Students are much more creative when decorating mums than ever before,” says Christi Hurley, a Morton Ranch High School teacher of 16 years. “There is much more diversity shown on mums with a variety of trinkets and personal touches that allow students to showcase their interests and personalities.”

Dress up days! Photo courtesy KISD

For Hampshire, her favorite part of homecoming is the parade. “It's a time when Homecoming is more of a community event and not just a school event, says Hampshire.

Homecoming has evolved over the years according to Hampshire. She’s seen it go from a “date” event to an event where a group of friends can come and enjoy the dance together.

“I love the excitement and feeling of school spirit that the homecoming week brings to campus,” says Hurley.” “The anticipation of HOCO dance proposals are something that everyone enjoys watching unfold.”

Hurley also loves seeing students participate in dress up days leading up to the event as they see that they are part of something bigger than themselves.

She also says that games have gotten bigger and full of more spirit.

“The crowning of the Queen is my favorite tradition associated with homecoming,” says Hurley. “I love seeing the court on the field and hearing each contestants’ accomplishments.” She says it fills her with pride on how supportive the students are of each other.

Sandra Weems, a teacher of 16 years at Taylor High School also loves seeing the school come together.

Emily McDowell Katy HS Homecoming 1994

“I love seeing all of Taylor come together to show their school pride,” says Weems.

“I actually think moving our homecoming dance to be held at the Merrell Center instead of our campus was a great change,” says Weems. This allows more space without limiting students.

Taylor High School has also added a game component for students who don’t wish to dance. This was a huge hit last year and will be added to this year.

Katy Homecoming 2008. Photo courtesy Chris Roberson

Things always change. “From pictures I see that the dresses are now short and less formal,” says Skalka.

While trends will come and go, the spirit is sure the stay the same.

“Homecoming is just a fun event and you can do as little or as much as you want,” says Sanchez. “No pressure, only fun!”


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