- We posted a few pictures here, but for more, see 2013 Brandon Homecoming Dance Photos.
The hallways leading into the school cafeteria were essentially unrecognizable to the dance attendees, who made their way through the set for "The Greatest Homecoming on Earth" en route to the school cafeteria.
Each year the students at Brandon High select a theme — such as last year's "A Night in Neverland" and a recent year's "Under the Sea" — then spend months in preparation for the posters, wall- and floor-coverings, props and other decorations needed to set the stage.
"No, I didn't expect this," said homecoming attendee and junior Sauge David. "I just expected, like, some streamers going around the room and maybe a couple decorations. I don't even recognize where I'm at. I didn't expect them to go all out like this."
"All out" took more than 200 hours to create, possibly even "220 or 250 hours," said world history teacher Rachel Hardman, who serves also as the student government advisor. "We started in June and worked three days a week during the summer, and every Saturday since school opened."
"I'm amazed at how much these kids can accomplish, their ideas," Hardman added. "When you're working on it, from a day-to-day basis, you don't really see it. All you see is paper and paint. But it all comes together. It's just overwhelming and mind-boggling."
This year was extra special, as the school counts down to the 2014 celebration of the founding of the Brandon School, in 1914. At the time, the Brandon School was the only school in the area, serving students through high school.
"This is our 100th anniversary and we want to celebrate our traditions and the homecoming tradition is to transform the school into another world," Hardman said. "This is the heart of Brandon."
With a big heart and a wide smile principal Carl Green stood outside as his students filed into the dance. For him, having the dance at the school is a no-brainer.
"It's our home," he said. "It's our students coming back, coming back to their home."
Going all out for homecoming, transforming the look of the school, "is a tradition of Brandon since I've known it," Green said. "I love it. I watch the kids build it from nothing to something and when they're done, Disney should come check it out."
Parent Jim "Smokey" Rauch was at the dance with his wife, Lorraine, and his daughter Leah, 21, a Riverview High School graduate. They were there to help out while younger daughter, Elizabeth, a junior, attended the dance.
"It's pretty amazing," Rauch said of the decorated hallways. "Just the them of it and the amount of work the students put into it. They were here until 3 a.m. the night before setting it up and they came back early today to finish. It's much more than we ever did in our high schools."
His wife agreed.
"The kids did most of it and they worked really hard at it," she aid. "They just totally transformed their school into a midway fairgrounds."