ISD 181 Viewpoint: Homecoming 2015

I woke up last Saturday to my Facebook feed blowing up with images and posts from the Warrior football game the previous night. I had passed up an invite to join some girlfriends and their elementary-aged kids in the stands. They posted video of ...

Jessica Gangl
Jessica Gangl

I woke up last Saturday to my Facebook feed blowing up with images and posts from the Warrior football game the previous night. I had passed up an invite to join some girlfriends and their elementary-aged kids in the stands. They posted video of their young daughters cheering with pom-poms and pictures of their sons clinging to the fence were adorable. Her post read, "Ten years from now they'll be in the cool part of the bleachers being all teenagery." I know exactly what she meant, because we were "those" teenagers. Scrolling down a little further I came across a pictures of a gal I used to babysit, who is now a junior. She was mixed in with an enormous group of teens who were all decked out in Warrior blue and white with splashes of patriotic reds in remembrance of 9/11. Nostalgia took over. I longed to be one of those kids again.

When I left Brainerd 15 years ago to attend college at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, I vowed I'd never move back to Brainerd. Brainerd was too small. Everyone knew everyone and their business. There wasn't enough to do. I wanted more. I finished college with my teaching degree and took off for Southern California to teach kindergarten. Although I loved the fast paced lifestyle, endless entertainment options and Starbucks on every block, it wasn't home. I only stayed in California for a few short months and decided to return back to the frozen tundra; Duluth. It wasn't long after returning that I was planning our wedding and we were deciding where we should settle that would be best for raising a family. We sought a new community that had a [big enough] hospital where my spouse could continue his critical care pharmacy specialty, great schools, and family within close proximity. Brainerd was the winner. I've been back nearly 10 years and we have never regretted our choice. Of course there have been changes all over town, but yet, the spirit of Brainerd has remained. We love living here!

In just a few short weeks the Brainerd lakes area will come together to kick-off another school year with a long standing tradition - Homecoming! This is a time where school spirit and community pride come together. The days leading up are packed with activities, varsity games, and events for the whole family. Homecoming week will commence with the crowning of the king, queen, and royal court at Coronation Pep Fest on Monday, Sept. 28. On Wednesday, there will be a B.A.Y. Youth Rally featuring Joe Kessler at 6:45 p.m. in Tornstrom Auditorium. On Thursday, Adult Basic Education celebrates their 50th anniversary at Central Lakes College. On Friday, Brainerd Public Schools Foundation will host the celebration for the four notable alumni being inducted into the Hall of Fame at 5 p.m. at Grand View Lodge. The Crossing Arts Alliance will also hold their Anything Brainerd Art Exhibit Opening at Franklin Arts Center from 5-7 p.m. Later that evening, area restaurants will host gatherings for members of each decade's graduating classes.

Saturday, Oct. 3, will be a day bursting with festivities kicking off at 8am with the Warrior Homecoming Run 5K/10k run and walk beginning in Kiwanis Park. The parade, organized by Brainerd Community Action, starting on 5th and Laurel in downtown Brainerd will begin at 10:30 a.m. (and there is still room for your business or organization to have a float) and end at the football field just off College Drive. The NFL Tour bus will be there offering games for kids while the BYAA football teams play on the field. The football players will be working to "Slay the Sabres" starting at 2 p.m. on Don Adamson Field. The 11th annual Mac Carkhoff Memorial Golf Classic will take place at the Legacy Golf Course at noon (open to the public). The 10th-12th grade students will have the opportunity to dance the night away at the Homecoming Dance at BHS later that evening.

More details on all of these exciting events can be found at . The Brainerd Public Schools Foundation is excited to be part of this long-standing tradition and we invite you to join us!


Jessica Gangl is executive director of Brainerd Public Schools Foundation.

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