Jenkintown School District Douses Traditional Homecoming Bonfire Celebration

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students standing by a fire
Image via Jenkintown High School Varsity Football at Facebook.
The 2017 edition of the Jenkintown High School homecoming bonfire.

Jenkintown School District set aside its annual homecoming bonfire tradition back in 2020, out of an abundance of COVID-19 health concerns. But now that the pandemic has retreated somewhat, district leaders are loath to bring it back, saying they would prefer to reinvent it instead. Jennifer Lee picked up this story and ran with it for FOX 29 Philadelphia.

The announced cancellation of the 2022 bonfire came via a letter from Jill A. Takacs, district superintendent of schools. In it, she wrote: “We would like to begin a new tradition at Jenkintown that we hope will become a treasured event.”

She wrote further that the bonfire had become a “hardship,” calling it “costly” and a source of “safety concerns.”

She described its Oct. 27 substitute as a “special athletes’ skills competition highlighting senior players.”

Student John Wearing isn’t thrilled with the revision.

“I was really looking forward to it,” he said. “But when I found out that they canceled it, I was mad.”

Ava Bartlett, also a student, related what the ongoing editions of the spirited gathering had come to mean to her: “Ever since I was in first grade, it’s been a whole thing that we’ve always gone to the bonfire. I had fun.”

The home and school association didn’t cartwheel over the decision, either.

“It’s gone. Yeah, with little to no discussion. That’s the part that bothers me the most,” commented president Nora McCloskey.

More on a popular autumn tradition snuffed by the Jenkintown School District is at FOX 29 Philadelphia.

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