Homecoming Week Day 4: Homecoming Rally closes Spirit Week with a bang


Alena Suleiman

Senior lip sync participants Kris Estrada and Gordon Chen pose together in a heart shape. The seniors’ routine described some of the “horrors of Harker,” in line with their theme of the horror movie “It.”

Students and faculty gathered in the Zhang Athletic Center for the annual Homecoming Rally today, which featured various competitions, lip-syncs and performances from Jazz Band and Kinetic Krew.

The current spirit standings are as follows: the class of 2025 in fourth place with 700 points, the class of 2026 in third place with 775 points and the class of 2023 in second place with 1125 points. In first place, the class of 2024 has 1350 points. 

The rally began with a performance by the upper school dance group Kinetic Krew, who danced to the “Avengers” theme song, along with “POWER” by Kanye West. The dancers’ various flips, jumps and tricks had the audience erupting in cheers and applause.

“[I really liked] Kinetic Krew,” Vivian Chen (11) said. “What I liked most about the performance itself is the amount of passion the dancers clearly had for putting on a show that would help the rally be even more special than it already is.”

The next activity was the “Scream-Off,” in which classes screamed as loud as they could when signaled by Harker Spirit Leadership Team (HSLT) member Shreeya Merchia (11). To ensure the most accurate results, upper school physics teacher Dr. Eric Nelson measured each class’s noise level with a decibel meter. The class of 2026 came in fourth at 116 decibels, followed by the class of 2025 in third place with 116.3 decibels, 2023 in second place with 118.2 decibels and the juniors took the lead with 119 decimals.

“Our goal was to strategize as much as possible by cupping our hands and screaming at a higher pitch, but that didn’t really work because [our class] got our timing wrong,” Sam Parupudi (10) said. “However, it set us up to cheer really loudly for the rest of the events.” 

Frosh students, decked out in their green class t-shirts, cheer on their grade at today’s rally. The frosh homecoming court pair won the first relay race. (Alena Suleiman)

The rally progressed into the lip-syncs, where groups of students from each grade danced and enacted skits relating to every class’s movie theme: “Harry Potter” for the frosh, “Justice League” for the sophomores, “Minions” for the juniors and “It” for the seniors.

“My favorite [lip-sync] was probably the juniors’,” Bella Chen (10) said. “Their performance was very coordinated and the “Minions” theme was probably the best theme by far. The performers were also very into the performance which helped bring up the spirit.”

After the lip-syncs came the Homecoming Court relay races, where the two elected representatives from the frosh, sophomore and junior classes, and six senior court representatives participated in three races put together by HSLT. Luke Wu and Timothy Deng; Sam Parupudi and Benny Fu; Daniel Lin and Emily Kwan; BB Ajlouny, Atri Banerjee, Rigo Gonzales, Sawyer Lai, Cassie May and Lexi Wong represented the classes of 2026, 2025, 2024 and 2023 respectively. 

In the first relay, the participants wheelbarrowed to one side of the Athletic Center, switched positions, and then returned to the starting line as fast as possible. The frosh took off quickly, overtaking all classes and emerging first. 

In the second race, the players carried ping-pong balls on a spoon, with one participant balancing the ball on the spoon and crossing checkpoints before returning to the starting point. They then transferred the ping-pong ball to their partner’s spoon without dropping the ball, and the other partner repeated the same series of steps. The class of 2023 triumphed in the relay.

In the third relay, contestants had to crab walk and then bear walk across the gymnasium floor, and finish off with a successful lay-up. Contestants were not allowed to move on to the lay-ups until both partners had finished, and the seniors once again took the win. 

“Our class did really well in the beginning, and I found the relay races to be really enjoyable,” George Yang (9) said. “Cheering on the team as a collective class was really fun, and even though our class lost some of the races, it was a worthy experience.” 

The rally concluded with the “Hoscars,”where HSLT announced the total points of each class. Before they revealed the results, students and faculty said goodbye to Director of Alumni Relations Kristina Alaniz, who is leaving the school this year. 

“One of the things I would encourage everybody to remember is that the main goal is to encourage us to draw closer to each other and to stand together as a class,” sophomore class dean Christopher Hurshman said. “It’s not primarily about winning. It’s about excelling and doing something together that we think is good and valuable.”

To end Homecoming Week, the second-ever Harker Day will take place on Saturday, with the Homecoming game and celebrations at 6:00 p.m. Harker will face off against Delta Charter on Davis Field with a “white-out” theme. The final tug-of-war games will take place before the game and during half time, where the frosh class will compete against the sophomores to decide the tug-of-war champions.