Sniper threat forced cancellations; festivities and activities took place three weeks later
Blair was the only public school in Montgomery County to delay a Homecoming dance scheduled for Oct 12 in response to the sniper attacks. Principal Phillip Gainous pushed the dance back to Nov 2 because of the cancellation of the Oct 11 football game due to safety concerns.
Blake, Churchill, Northwest and Sherwood high schools held their dances on Oct 12 even though they did not have Homecoming football games.
After an Oct 11 MCPS decision cancelled all evening and weekend outdoor activities, including the Homecoming game, decisions about whether to hold indoor events such as the Homecoming dance were left to the administration of individual schools.
Gainous decided not to hold the dance because he worried for students' safety. He said the school system was apprehensive in light of the recent sniper shootings.
The cancellation of the Homecoming game, originally scheduled for Oct 11, also prompted Gainous to delay the dance. "We thought in the spirit of the celebration, we would hold both the dance and the game together. The game and the dance go hand-in-hand," he said.
The Homecoming dance and game were rescheduled to Nov 2 and 4, respectively. Originally scheduled against Paint Branch High School, the game became the last home game of the season, against Magruder High School.
The game was originally scheduled for Nov 1, but that date would have conflicted with the county regulation requiring four days of rest between each football game.
Gainous said the other schools did not postpone their dances because unlike Blair, they did not have any remaining home football games.
Although the Homecoming dance was the SGA's most expensive event, the club's finances were not hurt by the postponement. Instead, the delay allowed additional time for ticket purchases, said SGA vice-president Nardos Bellete. SGA co-sponsor Julia Smrek estimated a profit of $13,000 from the dance.
Students had mixed reactions to the delay. "I didn't really mind, because it gave me more time to prepare. I had to get the necessary materials for Homecoming," said senior Michael Harper.
Conversely, sophomore Rasheeda Simon found the postponement to be an inconvenience. "I'm very upset because I had my dress, my shoes, everything. I was going to get my nails and hair done," she said.
In addition to postponing the dance and cancelling the football game, Gainous decided to call off the Oct 11 pep rally because of the dangerous behavior several students exhibited in the SAC just before the rally. Gainous said the aggressive conduct created an unsafe environment for students. "It was like a mob. Kids on the upper floors were throwing bottles on the kids on the lower floor," he said. The pep rally was held on Nov 1.
Elena Chung. After several failed attempts to start a school newspaper in elementary school, Elena Chung, a senior, has finally fulfilled a lifelong goal to write for a paper. When she's not hunting down sources or finishing loads of work, she enjoys taking photos, cooking, reading, watching … More »