BETHLEHEM The homecoming football game is a time-honored tradition at which past and present students can come together to root for the home team.
For the second year running, the Bethlehem Central Community Foundation will be sponsoring a Homecoming Jamboree before the big game. There is no admission fee for the party, where attendees can buy food, play games, get their face painted in Bethlehem’s colors of orange and black and listen to live music.
Last year, about 800 to 1,000 people made their way to the pre-game party. The popularity of the event led to the decision by BCCF members to bring it back. Any money raised will go to fund the group’s Classroom Innovation Grant for Bethlehem Central teachers.
This past year, $9,000 in awards were presented to teachers for 11 different projects through the grant. The prizes were awarded a competitive process to faculty and staff from all levels of Bethlehem schools for projects to be implemented in the next school year.
Some of the ideas that were approved included purchasing a green screen to be used during announcements at the middle school to help students learn graphic design, purchasing iPads for struggling readers at Elsmere Elementary, a recycling project and Eagle Elementary and a community garden at the middle school.
“The fundraising is part of the event, but really what we have found is there isn’t a solid alumni foundation, so we are sort of trying to be that for the community,” said Jamboree organizer Tina Sheehan. “There’s not really a go-to place for alumni. There was one, but it sort of fell apart after a while.”
Sheehan said the BCCF is trying to establish the tradition of the Jamboree so alumni want to come home every year for the Homecoming game and visit with their old friends. The event would hearken back to what homecoming games and dances were once meant to be.