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Courting the community

In Sultan, the entire community embraces homecoming

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By Annie Mulligan
For The Herald

Sultan High School homecoming queen and king Mikayla Day and Cody Ohlsen wave to Sultan Elementary students Friday during the parade, which was timed to pass the school as the kids were released for the weekend. Everyone at the high school plays a part in homecoming, but for Sultan, the bash is a tradition embraced by the entire community. [Photo gallery]
The lights dim as students fill the bleachers at Sultan High School Friday afternoon. Lights and flowers line a make-shift walkway leading to chairs that the 2011 Homecoming Court will soon fill. Cheers erupt as the royal court is named and each candidate proceeds to their seat — a princess from freshman to junior, five senior king candidates and two senior queen nominees.

See the scenes from Sultan's homecoming celebration in our photo gallery.
Submit your own photos from homecoming celebrations in our online gallery.
The moment of anticipation ends as the announcement that seniors Cody Ohlsen and Mikayla Day have been chosen by their peers to represent Sultan High School as the 2011 Homecoming King and Queen. Rainbow sashes, crowns and a multicolored lollipop staff for Ohlsen create the royal look. Day hugs her younger sister, Natalie, this year's freshman princess. The Days are quickly forming a Homecoming dynasty as they join their older brother, Zachary, who was Homecoming King last year. Although tradition sheds plenty of attention to the king and queen, everyone has a part in homecoming at Sultan High School. The mid-day assembly leads to a parade in which students walk through the streets in celebration. The marching band leads the way, followed by floats from each class and groups representing clubs and sports teams. Members of the volleyball team pack into the back of a pickup and pass out candy. The girls soccer team dribbles soccer balls as people from the community line the streets. The cross country team happily jogs up and down the parade route. Each class designs and creates a float to carry class officers and leaders and is driven by a faithful parent or staff member.

A Sultan coach and player high five after Sultan recovered a fumble in the second half of the game Oct. 7 in Sultan. Fog rolled in to cover the field at the beginning of the second half. [Photo gallery]
The party is not only for the high school but is embraced by the entire Sultan community. The parade includes firetrucks and is led by Sultan Council member Sarah Davenport-Smith and City Administrator Deborah Knight. One of the highlights of the display is that it is timed to pass Sultan Elementary School when students are released for the weekend. Parents, friends and other residents line the streets the rest of the route. The parade is loud and colorful, and full of contributions from many people. The bash continues Friday evening at Sultan's football game. Past, present and future Turks fill the stands to cheer on the team and are entertained for another round of the marching band, the homecoming court, the dance team and a special appearance of a flame juggler, who is a student. The Turks endured a tough loss to South Whidbey and were high in spirit at the end of the night as the crowd stayed until the very end. Sultan, rich in positive enthusiasm and community, certainly lives up to its noble name.
The series: Herald photographers Jennifer Buchanan, Annie Mulligan and Mark Mulligan take a look at Friday night life outside the chalk lines of the gridiron. Join them each week for a look at the people who make the Friday football experience possible without ever catching a pass or running the ball in for a touchdown. Have a good idea for Sidelines? Email Jennifer Buchanan at
Story tags » Sultan High SchoolHigh School Football

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