Stevenson kicks off homecoming with Spirit Fest
Monika Sokolowski shows off her "Animal" slippers Tuesday morning on Pajama Day during Homecoming Week at Stevenson High School. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
The Lauri S. Bauer Foundation for Sudden Loss
Lauri Bauer, a mother in the Stevenson community, died Jan. 5 of last year after a sudden heart arrhythmia. Her friends and family set up a foundation in her memory to assist other families dealing with unexpected tragedies.
More information about the group’s work can be found at its website,
Updated: October 21, 2012 2:13PM
LINCOLNSHIRE — Stevenson High School students planned to host another world-record-breaking dance party to celebrate homecoming this week, but the record-keepers changed the rules the day before the dance.
Stevenson has kicked off the last four homecoming weeks with Spirit Fest, a Saturday pep rally that includes a fireworks show, 5-kilometer walk around the campus, music, food and inflatables.
Since 2010, the highlight of Spirit Fest has been an attempt to break a Guinness World Record. This year, the school set out to destroy the high mark for the world’s largest salsa dance. On Friday, however, Stevenson learned that Guinness was consolidating all of their dance categories into a single, “world’s largest line dance” record.
After Saturday’s Spirit Fest, organizer Brett Erdmann, Stevenson’ community service coordinator, said he was still trying to get an official confirmation of the new record. He said he had see a few different numbers, but all were bigger than the 1,098 who took part in Stevenson’s dance effort.
Erdmann said that while the salsa dance was the night’s big conversation piece, the point of the party was to raise money for this year’s homecoming beneficiary, the Lauri S. Bauer Foundation for Sudden Loss. That went off as planned, he reported.
“We’re collecting bags and bags of cash,” he said.
He didn’t have an estimate ready by Pioneer Press’ print deadline, but it appeared that the fund-raising total would come in close to last year’s $20,000 donation to Court Appointed Special Advocates’ Lake County chapter.
“I think it’s amazing that kids can put together an event like that,” Erdmann said of Spirit Fest, which is organized mostly by a council of about 100 students. “Every singe thing about this was designed by kids, operated by kids.”
The first record-breaking Spirit Fest was held in 2010, when the Patriots set a new mark for the largest group of people dancing “the robot.” Last fall, the event fell short of setting a new standard for people dancing with glow-sticks.
Before Guinness consolidated all its line-dancing records into one, the high had been 418. Erdmann said he understood Guinness’s desire to straighten up its books.
“When you get specific enough, you could just make your own world record,” he said.
With the salsa dancing record out of reach, the school has turned its attention to the rest of homecoming week, which began in full Tuesday because Stevenson cancelled classes Monday to observe Rosh Hashana.
“This is a very odd homecoming week for us,” said David Eddy, SHS’ student activities coordinator.
Despite the day off Monday, the decorations for this year’s theme, “Willy Wonka and the Spirit Factory,” still had to be put up.
“We actually had a pretty lengthy discussion” about how to get the school’s two wings set up, Eddy said. “It did really impact how the school will look this year, but I think we’re going to make everything work. The week’s just going to be that much more busy.”
Rather than try to make decorating happen during an already-packed weekend, Eddy and the student leaders decided to push the east wing decorations back to Tuesday and the west wing to Wednesday.
Every year, the four classes each bring forward a homecoming theme idea, and the Student Council presents a fifth. The Spirit Factory idea came from the council, Eddy said.
“They really sold it, and then the other students bought in,” he said.
Homecoming will feature the Rally in the Alley, starting after school Friday until the start of the varsity football game against the Warren Township Blue Devils. The rally is an attraction designed to filter visitors into the 5 p.m. junior varsity football game. Eddy expects a sellout crowd for the varsity game.
“We pack those stands,” he said.
About 2,300 are expected for the dance in the Sports Center, though students are pushing for more.
“Our students have a goal of getting 3,000,” he said. “It’s a really big undertaking.”