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Homecoming event proves that all's fair

The sacrifices a high school principal must make during Homecoming week. Walloped with water balloons, creamed with pies. Forced to wear a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan: "I'm a DECA dude," a reference to the school's Distributive Education Clubs of America program.

The good part? "I'm wearing my first pair of blue jeans in 21 years in the education business," said a spry Richard Fauble, principal at Springstead High School, as he cavorted about the school's athletic practice field, which had been turned into a giant Homecoming fair Friday.

Springstead High, celebrating its 15th year, used to honor Homecoming with a parade down Mariner Boulevard. This year, anticipating the startup of a road-widening job on Mariner, the parade was nixed. (The road-widening job, of course, hasn't begun.)

Many students said they preferred the fair to the parade, anyway.

"You just stand there and watch; you scream; you don't have fun," said 11th-grader Eleni Damianakis, when asked about the loss of the parade.

"It's better than the parade because people get to make money off of it," added 12th-grader Kim Pippin, a cheerleader and Homecoming Court member.

Under a large tent, about a dozen service organizations were selling food or trinkets or tickets or just about anything they could get their hands on to earn some cash.

Springstead High head cook Vera McKenvie and her staff were selling cookies. They were trying to raise money for a food service convention in Orlando.

"They complain about the food," laughed Ms. McKenvie, who leaned over, then added in a confidential whisper: "But they still eat it."

Across the field, students were trying to destroy math teacher Patrick McCulloch's cream-colored 1973 Toyota station wagon with a sledgehammer. For a dollar, you could bash away for several minutes.

But the car, whose engine already had been removed by Springstead High's auto mechanics class, refused to fall apart.

"They found out Toyotas are well-built cars," McCulloch quipped.

There was pie-throwing and dancing, too, with several members of Brickhouse Inc., an informal, student-led dance group, performing improvised hip-hop and house dancing styles to a large crowd of admiring students.

Members of the 22-member Homecoming Court, chosen earlier this week, were strolling through the athletic field, eager to tell people what an honor it was to have been chosen by their peers.

Stacia Struck and Jason Reynolds are this year's Homecoming queen and king at Springstead.

The school's Homecoming football game was Friday night against Hudson and was followed by a dance in the school gymnasium.