By: Lynn Bowman
When did Buford High School’s tradition of Homecoming begin? That is a pretty simple question, and my first answer was, “It has always existed!” Well, that is somewhat correct. I guess it is all relative. In my short life, we have always had a homecoming and all the celebrations that go along with this annual event. But truly, until I started scouring the records here at the Museum, I would have provided an educated guess of sometime in the 1960’s. Wrong again! I gleaned my first indication of the correct date from the October 17, 1952, issue of BHS’s newspaper, The Green and White. There on the front page was a small headline, “Fifth Homecoming To Be November 7.” I performed a little finger calculating…52, 51, 50, 49, 48. Yes, it must be 48. So I skipped to the folder holding the newspapers from 1948, and sure enough, there it was. The title of the article says, “ANNUAL HOMECOMING CELEBRATED IN COLORFUL WEEK-END PROGRAM.” This issue was published December 14, 1948. The article sites November 19th as the date for the first recorded Homecoming in Buford. To celebrate this find, I want to reprint the article written by Gay Hannah, a featured editor of the Journalism class of Buford High School.
Homecoming week end was filled with the activity of a football game and a Sadie Hawkins party. During the ballgame, November 19, spirits of both teams were raised by the sponsors as they sat on the bench with the players. Sponsors were Patsie Pugh and Gay Hannah, juniors, and Laveece Pirkle, ’42, and Sammie Morris, ’45. They carried lovely bouquets of roses that were donated by Fred Grizzle, local florist.
Buford’s mascot, Stanley Wheeler, attracted everyone’s attention as he met in the center of the football field with the referees, captains of both teams, and the sponsors. Stanley was dressed in a complete football uniform.
Each alumnus attending the game was given a cardboard miniature football bearing the year of his graduation. The earliest graduate was Mr. John Q. Allen, who was a senior in 1902. The alumni gathered on the field at the half and sang the Alma Mater.
Fifteen additional cheerleaders helped to spur the team on to victory and supplied color and amusement to the crowd. These girls from the elementary grades entered into the cheers and gymnastics with ready hearts and lungs. Saturday night a Sadie Hawkins party was held in the school gym.
I did not find an article about the second Homecoming, but the October 20, 1950, paper had this article recapping the following year’s event.
The third annual alumni homecoming celebration sponsored by the senior class and alumni association was held Friday, Oct. 6 when the Buford Wolves met the Tucker team. Even though the Wolves did not come from the field victorious as on previous homecoming celebrations, they did emerge from the melee with a tied score of 6-6.
Janice Burel, popular and attractive sophomore, was elected by the football team to serve as “Miss Football” for the evening. Her attendants were taken from each of the high school classes and one from the alumni. They were: Carolyn Gravitt, representing the alumni; Peggy Ashworth, representing the senior class; Laverne Dollar, representing the ninth grade; and Nan Smith from the eighth grade.
Preceding the game, “Miss Football” and her attendants were introduced from the center of the playing field, then they accompanied Jimmy Braselton, Captain, and Jimmy Hamilton, Co-Captain, out to the center of the field for the toss.
“Miss Football” and her attendants, all in becoming fall suits, were honored when they were privileged to sit on the bench with the ballplayers and thus viewed the game from that position.
During half-time, which was five minutes longer than regulation, all the alumni, including the senior class of 1950-51 assembled under the goal posts at the west end of the field. Carrying signs which represented the years they graduated from B.H.S., they marched to the center of the field and stood at attention while the cheerleaders led the crowd in singing the Alma Mater. The alumni were identified by white cardboard footballs, tied with green ribbons, with the year they graduated printed in green crayon.
After the football game, the majority of the crowd proceeded to the gym where the alumni were honored by a square and round dance. The gym was attractively decorated by the senior class who sponsored this dance.
Below is the article from the December 12, 1952 paper, written by Jewell Shadburn.
For the fifth consecutive year the homecoming game, sponsored by the Senior Class, was the highlight of the football season as the Buford Wolves met the Lawrenceville Panthers on the Bona Allen Athletic Field, November 7. Even though the Wolves left the field for the last game of the season defeated with a score of 13-2, they deserve their credit for giving us some exciting times.
Miss Bonnie Ruth Cheek was the center of attraction as “Miss Football” of 1952, selected by the players. A representative from each high school class served as her attendants. Representing the seniors was Belle McKinsey; the juniors, Iris Hosch; the sophomores, Doris Thornton; and the freshmen, Ida Ruth Mabrey. “Miss Football” was presented with a lovely floral bouquet of yellow chrysanthemums tied with a green and white satin ribbon. Each attendant was presented with a corsage of one large chrysanthemum tied with a green and white ribbon also.
Preceding the game, each girl was escorted to the center of the field by the captain and co-captains. After meeting the visiting captains and observing the tossing of the coin, they were led to the players’ bench for the game.
We are quite sure that this Homecoming game was enjoyed by everyone and proved to be one of the best.
It is nice having original, primary sources for the early accounts of the beginning years of our Homecoming tradition. Thank you Pat Pirkle for saving the archives of The Green and White papers for all of us to enjoy.