OMHS Homecoming Week includes charity fundraisers

NORTH SHELBY – Oak Mountain High School’s Homecoming week is filled with dress-up days, competitions and more, but the school’s strongest Homecoming tradition might be its philanthropy.

“We have a lot of fun and a lot of cool events, but I’m most proud of how much good we do for people in need,” said John Milton, AP economics teacher and sponsor of the Student Government Association, which organizes Homecoming week activities.

In 2014, a student with a “heart for service” approached Milton about a desire to harness the energy and excitement of Homecoming week to help the community.

A canned food drive was begun, with the classes that collect the most being awarded points toward the Homecoming spirit competition.

The drive, which is now handled by the OMHS Key Club, this year netted about 4,800 cans of food, most in its history.

The food is donated to Oak Mountain Missions.

Students also participate in a penny war. Each class has a container, and pennies dropped into the container yield points. However, nickels, dimes and quarters can be dropped into the containers of opposing classes, which subtracts points from their total.

The penny war efforts yield $2,000-$3,000 each year. In 2018, OMHS was able to make the largest donation to Alabama Make-A-Wish ever from a school.

A pop tab competition has also been started, which benefits the Ronald McDonald House.

With the theme of “A Night Under the Northern Lights,” Oak Mountain’s Homecoming also includes festivities such as a powder puff football game, a talent show and dance.

Organizers have sought ways to make Homecoming week as inclusive as possible by offering something for everyone. Recent additions include a video game tournament, with about 500 participants competing in Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart on a big screen in the school performing arts center while other students offer live, and entertaining, commentary.

“We try to make sure everybody at Oak Mountain has a chance to take part in something they enjoy doing,” Milton said.

A parade was held during the school day on Friday, Sept. 27, a blackout pep rally was held for the first time, with the lights being shut off about halfway through, and then a school-wide student tailgate hosted by the SGA was held at Heardmont Park prior to the Homecoming football game against Pelham.

The Homecoming Queen was crowned at halftime of the game, and the week concluded with a dance on Saturday, Sept. 28.