Published 7:57 am Tuesday, October 22, 2019

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Homecoming is all about traditions at Andalusia High School. Trees can be seen white with toilet paper, floats are built and students practice for the biggest tradition of all, the homecoming skit.

The AHS homecoming skit has been around as long as anyone can remember. Dawn Thompson took over the sponsorship for the skit in 1990.

“I have sponsored skits for 30 years,” Thompson said. “Amy Spurlin and Angie Sasser certainly were influential in evolving the skit into the large-scale production that it is today.”

This year, there are 150 students involved in the Back to the Future themed production, as well as eight teachers, Jerry Wishum, Mary Ashley Wise and Thompson.

For the past 30 years, Thompson has always had two goals with her skits.

“I always want to honor the alumni first,” Thompson said. “Then highlight the current students.”

It is not a quick process to get the production organized and ready. In fact, Thompson begins thinking about the next year’s skit the day after the skit is finished.

“I choose the overall theme first and then we have to research,” Thompson said. “We go through yearbooks, alumni surveys, then comes the writing of the skit. That includes, class facts, classroom memories, athletics, service clubs, musical/theatre performances, homecoming, pageants, good times and prom. Then we have to cast. Students sign up to be in the skit and we match the students to alumni.”

Thompson said one of the best parts of the tradition is casting, because the students get to play their relatives.

After casting everybody in the skit, practices begin three weeks out from the homecoming date.

“First we have small group practices for about three weeks leading up to the production,” Thompson said. “Then we have large group practices the week of homecoming.”

This year will be the first time the homecoming skit will be performed in the newly refurbished auditorium and Thompson can barely contain her excitement.

“First off, I just want to personally thank the Andalusia Educational Building Authority, the school board, mayor and city council for the hard work put into the refurbished auditorium,” Thompson said. “Last year we had the skit at the old middle school auditorium and it actually turned out a lot better than we expected, but this year we have a lot of surprises. We are going to be working with Jerry Wishum. So, there will be lots of surprises. I am slightly nervous performing in the new auditorium because I feel like expectations are really high, but I cannot wait to hold a production in the auditorium. Other than graduation and pep rallies, this is the first school production that will be held in it.”

Thompson believes that the skit is the biggest tradition of Andalusia’s homecoming.

“I think it is the reason that makes our homecoming unique,” Thompson said. “Everybody has a parade, rolls trees, has a football game and has a dance, but the skit is something that makes us very unique.”

This year’s homecoming skit, “Back to Andy,” is scheduled for 9 a.m., Friday morning in the new AHS auditorium.