The history of Providence Academy’s Homecoming week

The first powderpuff game. (Photo by: Ms. Katie Lahti)
The first Powderpuff game in 2005. (Photo by: Ms. Katie Lahti)

It’s 2002. Fans are cheering on their favorite team. The field is lit up by the stadium lights. The competitive spirit is high.

This may sounds like a traditional Providence Academy football game, but it is not.

Instead, early Providence Academy students competed in an intense girls vs. boys soccer game, due to there not being an actual football team yet. Musicians played at half-time, and sweatshirts were handed out to fellow students in place of jerseys, since spirit wear was not yet abundant at the fledgling school.

According to Ms. Katie Lahti ’06, each Homecoming tradition seemed to develop over time. She was a member of the student council during her time in the PA Upper School, and got to decide many of the traditions still celebrated at PA today.

Early PA students enjoying an out of uniform day. (Photo by: Ms. Katie Lahti)
Early PA students enjoying an out of uniform day. (Photo by: Ms. Katie Lahti)

The 2003-2004 school year was the year when Homecoming week was officially called Homecoming week, but, in the literal sense, the first US graduating class graduated in 2005, making the following year’s Homecoming the first official Homecoming week.

Since then, students at PA have enjoyed partial out of uniform days, activities (such as the pin game, and most recently “marked”), dances, powderpuff, the homecoming parade, and the big Friday night football game.

In 2004, house colors were chosen by student council members, “not thinking they would stick,” stated Ms. Lahti. Seniors would wear pink, juniors, orange, sophomores, green, and freshman, red. This tradition would in fact “stick,” with students each year donning their respective color.

In 2005, the first powderpuff game was arranged.

“[It] didn’t come super easy. [Seniors] decided on camouflage and pink. The Juniors decided on light blue. That tradition stuck,” Ms. Lahti remembered.

One thing that has been a part of PA’s Homecoming since the beginning was the pep fest, where, according to Ms. Lahti, “We filled like one section of the bleacher.”

Homecoming week at PA has developed into a beloved tradition, that both alumni, and students, can look forward to each year. This year PA will welcome 9 class of alumni from 2005-2013. Those students will receive a free Homecoming T-shirt.

Rachel Whalen (Broman) '05 and Ms. Katie Lahti at homecoming. (Photo by: Ms. Katie Lahti)
Rachel Whalen (Broman) ’05 and Ms. Katie Lahti at homecoming. (Photo by: Ms. Katie Lahti)


Another powderpuff picture of the 1st powderpuff at PA. (Photo by: Ms. Katie Lahti)
Another powderpuff picture of the 1st powderpuff at PA. (Photo by: Ms. Katie Lahti)

Opinion: The Evolution of Dance

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

With the homecoming dance coming up this weekend, no doubt you PA students are scrambling to brush up on your dance skills, so as not to embarrass yourselves in front of the entire Upper School.

 But nowadays, what would practicing your dance moves look like? Kids practicing their twerking by themselves on their bedroom walls? Checking themselves out in the mirror as they bounce up and down to a dubstep tune? Not to sound like a nostalgic 40-year old, but what happened to real dancing? You know, the tango, swing, salsa, or even disco! People used to actually face their partner while dancing, and would perform pre-rehearsed steps that had more variety than suddenly breaking up the monotony of your bounce to perform the “lawn mower”.

 Maybe it’s just a lack of creativity on our part, or maybe it’s part of the overall disdain for school dances that has crept into the student body. It could be something else entirely.

However, I’m not entirely blaming this problem on the youth of today. When it comes down to it, as much as I like the current pop music, that stuff is pretty hard to dance to. Rap, dubstep, and Taylor Swift songs don’t exactly invite the same kind of dance moves as the music of our parents’ age. When a Taylor Swift song comes on at a dance, what are you supposed to do? Though I myself don’t condone it, swaying back and forth a little and dramatically mouthing the lyrics is unfortunately one of your limited viable options. Even slow dances have become this awkward swaying from side to side thing (the majority of the time anyway).

 So, what to do? We don’t want to advocate for a 30-year regression of the music industry, but we also don’t want to just stick it out until the problem fixes itself. Some students (talk to Rebecca Dykhoff ‘14) get their dancing fix by attending dances and dance classes for various genres in downtown Minneapolis, but not everyone has the time or the inclination for that. I’m talking about a solution for this Homecoming dance, Prom, and all the dances in the future.

Perhaps it’s just a simple plea for creativity, for us to try to mix it up a little, channel our inner John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, or Patrick Swayze. A school dance is supposed to be fun! So we should all try to show off our skills (however bad they are), because the only thing that’s going to come from bouncing up and down all night is sore calves the next morning.

Wednesday night lights

The Class of 2014 Seniors took the win. (Photos by: Lauren Perinovic)
The Class of 2014 Seniors took the win. (Photos by: Lauren Perinovic)

The Seniors claimed the prize at Wednesday’s Powderpuff football game, which is an annual Homecoming tradition at PA.

Returning player Emily Prom ‘14 believes that powderpuff is a special part of high school.

Prom states, “You only compete in this two grades, and it is held just once a year. The girls get really excited to play football.”

Coming back from a tough loss in their junior year, the Seniors were eager to show their fight, and were glad they walked away with a win.

“I’m already pumped because I want to destroy some juniors,” states Paige McAuliffe ’14 before the game.

The junior girls did not give up, and gave the seniors a competitive game.

“Our coaches, Ryan Richelsen and Conor White have prepared us in our hour and a half session. We have some secret strategies up our sleeve, we are not that bad,” stated Evyn Schmidt ‘15 before the game.

Prom, not wanting to take any chances states, “the fact that we are seniors means that we need to get our act together for this game.”
Juniors listening to their coaches. Senior. Clare Carney being intense. Juniors pose for a picture. Pre-game. The Juniors take the win. Juniors. Jordan Schilling '15 during the game. Colleen Irwin '14 looking intense before the game. Seniors pre-game.

Athlete Profile: Maria Agudelo Volleyball Marvel

Maria Agudelo '16 is on the right and ready for play. Photo used by permission from facebook.
Maria Agudelo ’16 is on the right and ready for play. Photo used by permission from facebook.

At only 15 years old Maria Agudelo ’16 finds herself a crucial player on the varsity volleyball team. With 8 years of experience and 70 inches in her favor, it isn’t hard to see why.

 “I realized I was good at volleyball in gym class because of my teacher… my mom played volleyball when she was in high school.”

 Since then she has remained committed to volleyball, playing an average of about 10 – 12 hours a week in the offseason.

 Last year Agudelo came to Providence from Columbia and this year is her first year on the varsity team.

 The middle hitter, also called middle blocker, stands front and center – most literally. In this position Agudelo sees much of the action in any given game and is expected to block whenever possible as well as react to quick sets.

 “I love Maria. She’s good at what she does and she knows what she’s doing,” said Heather Leuer ‘14.

 However, Agudelo is no stranger to losing. “Sometimes when I feel I give my very best I think that I can learn more things about losing.”

 As a sophomore starter, Agudelo has a bright future in the sport and hopes to be recruited.

Homecoming week to feature dancing football players, annual Powderpuff game and bonfire


Homecoming week festivities will begin on Monday, September 23 and will continue through the week.

On Monday, students will be able to wear homecoming T-shirts from 2013 and years past. The high school will begin playing the game “Marked” throughout the day. At 7pm, the movie “Rudy” will be shown in the courtyard, weather permitting.

Tuesday will be class colors day. Freshmen will be wearing red, sophomores will be wearing green, juniors will be wearing orange, and seniors will be wearing pink. Everyone will still be playing “Marked” along with the pin-game. The girls will be able to get pins in the atrium before school, and the boys will be looking to take the pins from them. The person with the most pins wins. There will be a scavenger hunt in House and an after-school Capture-the-Flag game beginning once school is out for the day. At 7pm, students are encouraged to attend the varsity girl’s volleyball game, where Providence will take on Rockford.

On Wednesday, students are encouraged to wear classic prep clothing. “Marked” will continue throughout the day. There will be a pep fest during activity period, which will feature the long-awaited Spirit Squad and Football player dance as well as the fall sports video of the teams dancing to “Call Me Maybe”. At 4pm, the varsity girl’s tennis team is playing Mounds Park, and students are encouraged to attend the match. At 7pm, junior girls will face off against the senior girls in the annual Powderpuff game.

Thursday will be an all school mass, so the upper school will not have an out of uniform day. “Marked” will again continue throughout the day. At 4:30pm, students are encouraged to watch the varsity boy’s soccer team play Concordia. Praise, Worship, and Adoration with the NET Team will be held in the chapel from 7-8:30pm.

Spirit wear can be worn on Friday, and the game of “Marked” concludes. At 7pm, the varsity boy’s football team plays Minnehaha, and there will be a bonfire following the game until 11pm.

Saturday will conclude the 2013 Homecoming week at Providence Academy. From 8-11pm, there will be a semi-formal, non-themed dance.