It was time to come home this past weekend. The annual Homecoming weekend saw the return of students’ families and various alumni to Jacksonville State University, for the game, for the annual parade, and to revisit old memories.
“[It’s] very surreal. Makes you think back on some very fond memories. You don’t think too much on that after you graduate,” said Brigadier General Timothy Daugherty, ROTC Alumni of the Year.
Events kicked off at 9 a.m. with the annual Family Day event, a gathering of attractions and entertainment on the lawn of the Theron Montgomery Building. The Homecoming Parade, tailgating and the JSU home game were also held later that morning.
“It’s awesome, a really great thing for the kids,” said Carol Stokesberry.
Stokesberry was accompanied by her daughter, Reece, who was holding a freshly minted teddy bear. Nearby, children and parents dashed in between cover as they tried to take each other out in laser tag.
Other booths included sand art, caricature artists, wax hand molds, and a small assembly line churning out ready-made teddy bears. Lines twisted in odd angles as everyone tried to fetch themselves a bear, a caricature or some other bit of art to remember the occasion.
“This is a very exciting time. It’s great to see alumni come home and old friends. It’s a time to renew,” said Student Government Advisor Debbie Taylor.
JSU’s fraternities and sororities banded together to create their own interpretations for this year’s float theme, Halloween inspired settings built around “Curse the Colonels.”
“I like to see something that is absent the rest of the year, alumni engaging with students. That’s what stands out to me,” said SGA Chief Justice Andrew York.
“It’s great. Good for the school, to see how it affects not just students but their families,” said Braden Couch of the Freshman Forum.
The Marching Southerners brought up the rear of the parade before heading to the stadium for the home game against the East Kentucky Colonels, while others headed to Dillon Field for tailgating and pre-game celebrations. Family Day ended at one with kickoff, but the keepsakes, experiences, and memories endure.
Homecoming is something like there and back again, and it will be again next year.