by Mallory Drover
On Saturday, September 24th, Homer High School celebrated a victory during the 2011 Homecoming football game against the Kenai Cardinals. The event was a success for the crowd, the school band, the football players, and the student council members who worked for two weeks to create and carry out event plans. However, one element overshadowed all the rest.
A confederate flag flew from the sophomore royalty car during the halftime parade. Hailey Hughes and Matthew Meyer sat under the confederate flag- an old symbol of racism, prejudice, and rebellion against government, as well as southern pride and tenacity in America’s history- and waved to the crowd as they represented the sophomore class of 2011. Hundreds of people attended the half time parade, and dozens of young children caught the candy thrown to them by the sophomore royalty.
“I do not feel the flag had malicious intent,” stated student council adviser, Mrs. Fisher, when asked about the incident. “Without any prior approval or notification, two parade entries were presented publicly during the Homecoming football game, one involving a confederate flag and the other a traveling piano.”
When I asked Sophomore Vice President, Kenley Kingrey, when the confederate flag was added to the royalty car, she responded to me “I do not know. It was on there, I think the whole time, maybe, or maybe it was put up there later, I’m not sure. It was on the sophomore royalty car, and we didn’t really see that car when we were constructing our floats.”
The car that drove royalty in the parade was separate from the class float, and did not require the same inspection, because it was meant to be undecorated. Student government verified that a car was present with a licensed driver to participate, but did not review the car with their own eyes before the parade.
“They told us to be at the lower parking lot fifteen minutes between halftime,” Matthew Meyer stated. The flag already flew when he took his place on the car.
“For future events, additional procedures are being established to ensure that only pre-approved entries are allowed to participate in the HHS Homecoming Parade,” Principal Dr. Gee stated on behalf of Homer High School.
Aware of the controversy surrounding the issue, car driver Ethan Roderick said “We did not mean for it to be racist at all. To people from the south, it just represents where they’re from. It wasn’t meant to be about slavery. We didn’t mean for anyone to be offended by it.”
The purpose of flying the confederate flag during the parade remains unclear, as Alaska was not involved in America’s civil war.