Returning to Bridgewater

Homecoming Weekend: A Time to Reconnect

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  • Homecoming kicked off with the bonfire and fireworks on Friday night.

  • (left to right) Seniors Danielle Brooks and Holden Andrews pose with Ernie the eagle and sophomore Madison Stearns at the homecoming festival.

  • (left to right) Freshmen Kierstan Haynes and seniors Kennesha Parker and Kameron Kyles represent the Student Support Foundation at the homecoming festival.

  • (left to right) Freshmen Kiana Carter, Erica Paulette, Madison Estep, and Erika O’Berry attended the tailgating at Mapp Field before the football game.

  • Sophomores Samantha Hince and Jackie Letaiugyang displayed their BC spirit at the Bonfire.

  • Joe Powell, class of 1969, enjoyed the homecoming festival with his wife.

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Katie Baker, Associate News Editor

Bridgewater, Va. – Bridgewater College’s 2019 Homecoming Weekend was Oct. 18th and 19th. Homecoming is a long tradition that the college has honored. It is a time for alumni and current students to gather together in celebration of friendship, memories, and tradition. Homecoming allows all those that have graduated, but still hold Bridgewater College dear to their hearts, an opportunity to return to the place they once regarded as home. 

Homecoming traditions at BC are ever evolving. Spike Felty, class of 1962, spoke of his favorite homecoming traditions during his time as a student. He mentioned each of the dorms competing in a skit of their design the night before the game and each of the dorms being decorated for homecoming.

Melissa Nice, class of 2001, also spoke of her favorite homecoming traditions as a BC student. She mentioned the homecoming court, the homecoming dance, and a parade that the dorms and clubs would participate in. Over the years the homecoming traditions have changed, but the sentiment remains the same. 

The weekend kicked off with the Friday night bonfire at Dillon field. The bonfire was a time for current BC students to rally with the athletic teams, make memories with friends, and bolster their school spirit. The bonfire featured competitive games, dancing, pumpkin painting, and fall snacks. The evening was a chilly fall night, so hot chocolate was a favorite among the students.

President Bushman also attended the bonfire in order to introduce the coach of the football team, Mike Clark. “He is a great coach; he is a great mentor” said Bushman of Clark. Clark asserted that this football season “has been one of the best.”

The main attraction at the event was the lighting of the bonfire and the setting off of fireworks. Coach Clark had the honor of lighting the bonfire. Students stood around the blaze in their Bridgewater spirit gear and watched the fireworks show. 

Although homecoming can be thought of as an event for alumni, current students also enjoyed the week and weekend festivities. Sophomore Samantha Hince said “Homecoming is a great way to meet new people on campus.” It is also a time for senior students to reflect on their four years at BC. “It’s nice knowing that BC is a community that doesn’t have to have an ending,” said senior MaryBeth Killian.

The homecoming activities continued to Saturday morning with the BC homecoming festival. The festival was held on the campus mall underneath the bright crimson and gold fall foliage.  The homecoming festival gave alumni and current students the opportunity to share in Bridgewater community. Professors attended the festival to reconnect with former students. Current students bonded over food and games. 

At the festival were activities for a variety of ages. There was a petting zoo, bounce houses, train rides, pictures with Ernie the eagle, rock climbing, live music, and corn hole. Bridgewater clubs and organizations set up booths along the mall for alumni and students to visit. President Bushman was there taking pictures with students and alumni. 

The homecoming festival was a time for alumni of all graduation years to experience BC again. Joe Powell, class of 1969, returned to his alma mater to celebrate his 50th class reunion. Powell was excited to be back at Bridgewater and was impressed by the changes that he saw. “It’s really good to see the progress,” said Powell. Recent Bridgewater graduate Zane Garrett, class of 2019, attended the homecoming festival as well. “I’m definitely excited to be back; it’s good to reconnect with old professors and friends,” said Garrett. 

At the conclusion of the festival, alumni and students made their way over to Mapp Field for tailgating. Tailgating is a new addition to the traditions of homecoming at Bridgewater College, but is quickly becoming popular. 

The festivities all led up to the homecoming football game on Saturday afternoon. The Bridgewater Eagles took on the Ferrum Panthers. The Eagles were ahead throughout the entire game; with the final score of 53 for the Eagles and ten for the Panthers. The BC fight song, played by the Screamin’ Eagles Pep Band, was often heard ringing throughout the stadium. 

Felty, who was a member of the football team in the early 1960s, reminisced over his days wearing the crimson and gold jersey. These days Felty is a “big supporter” of the Bridgewater football team. “I haven’t missed but five games in the last twenty years,” said Felty. 

Homecoming at Bridgewater College is a tradition for returning alumni and current students each year. The tradition of homecoming allows for the fostering of Bridgewater community and the bolstering of school spirit. Therefore, it is appropriate that the tradition of homecoming would conclude with the tradition of the ringing of the memorial bell; signaling the win of the football team.