Joplin High School is bringing back its fall football homecoming parade.

The parade — believed to be the first since the 1970s — is slated for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, which is the middle of homecoming week. Its route will begin at Third Street and head south on Main Street to Seventh Street.

"I just love how excited everybody is," said senior Faron Haase, the student body president and president of the student council who made the relaunch of the homecoming parade part of his election platform last year. "Once everything is maroon and white and blue all through downtown, it's going to be super exciting."

The theme, which will be on display during the entirety of homecoming week and at the Oct. 4 football game, will be "Welcome to the Jungle." Floats are being planned from JHS clubs, athletic groups and the marching band, cheer squad and dance team.

"This homecoming week is going to be a bigger deal than ever before," Haase said.

As planning for the parade gets under way, students are turning to the community for some help with donations and volunteers. Because most JHS clubs and sports have nominal budgets, donations of candy to be passed out from floats as well as float sponsorships are welcome, Haase said.

Volunteers also are sought for cleanup after Paint Main, a homecoming tradition of the student council and cheer squad to paint downtown windows with the Eagles' official colors.

And, of course, students hope people will turn out to line Main Street as spectators the night of the event, Haase said.

"If there's nobody watching the parade, is it really a parade?" he said.

The reintroduction of the parade is part of a larger effort spearheaded by Steve Gilbreth, a longtime Joplin Schools employee who is in his first year as high school principal, to get Joplin High School and its students more involved in the community. As part of that effort, members of the student council will begin presenting to the Joplin City Council during the city panel's regularly scheduled meetings on the third Monday of each month.

Haase said he hopes those efforts will pay off.

"We've never really been Joplin High School; we've just been the high school," he said. "I've always been a little jealous (of other high schools) because the community backs every single thing they do. It's a struggle for Joplin because we're bigger, but I think that should motivate us more. I think if we put the time and effort into the community, they'll reciprocate it."

Emily Younker is the assistant metro editor at the Joplin Globe. Contact: eyounker AT joplinglobe DOT com.

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