Accessibility links

Breaking News

Homecoming: A Way to Relive School Days of the Past

I'm Faith Lapidus with the VOA Special English Education Report.

A listener in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Hua Khanh Co, asks us about the tradition of “homecoming.” He explains that his girlfriend attended homecoming events this year at the University of Oklahoma.

Homecoming is a tradition at American colleges, universities and also high schools. Schools usually hold a weekend for this purpose each fall. Homecoming weekend is a time when former students return to get together with current students and with old friends.

The weekend usually centers on a football game and a homecoming dance. Many schools also hold a parade. And some burn a ceremonial fire to show support for their team.

The University of Illinois has claimed for many years to have held the first college homecoming weekend in nineteen ten. The planners of that celebration saw it as a chance for students and former students to get to know each other. They said it would create more loyalty to the university. And they said it would lead other universities to follow.

We found a research paper on the Web site of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It was completed this year by members of the university archives program.

It seems they found that Baylor University in Texas held an event called "Home-Coming" one year earlier, in nineteen-oh-nine. It was organized as a time to meet former student friends, recall old memories and "catch the Baylor spirit again." Events of that weekend included a concert, a parade and a football game.

And Northern Illinois University has records to show it held a homecoming weekend even earlier, in nineteen-oh-six. It was also a gathering of former students with organized social events built around a football game.

Today most American colleges hold a homecoming weekend. Things can get a little wild. But some students say the weekend is fun only when their football team has a winning season. Still, whoever started it, homecoming weekend remains an important social event at many schools in the United States.

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach. Internet users can read and listen to our reports at I’m Faith Lapidus.