A Homecoming to Remember

“Homecoming” at our School has taken various forms throughout the years—from both Country Day and Mary Institute students attending elaborate dances dating as far back as the 1930s to parades; teas for  alumni, students, and parents; and more extensive and diverse celebrations beginning in the 1990s after MI and CDS became one. Over the past decade, though, Homecoming has taken on new meaning and significance, melding old traditions with new ones. Homecoming Weekend as it’s experienced today—with additional events for the entire community and sports contests throughout the weekend—blends longstanding traditions such as the bonfire and spirit days with newer ones such as the Carnival and MICDS-JBS Fun Run. And of course, one aspect of Homecoming has stood the test of time—the Saturday-afternoon Varsity Football game, in recent decades the contest against John Burroughs.

As this fall we celebrated 10 years since we launched the official Homecoming Weekend festivities here at MICDS, we thought we’d spin the story a little differently, telling it through the eyes of various people who represent different facets of our vibrant and diverse community. And that’s what Jill Clark, Chief Storyteller at MICDS, set out to do when she sat down with each of the participants featured here. While the stories are written by her, they are meant to showcase what Homecoming is like from myriad perspectives. By reading the pages that follow, we hope you’ll catch a glimpse of the Homecoming magic, see yourself in the stories and celebrate along with us 10 years since our old-meets-new tradition began.

Philip Ralph `23

“Philip Ralph!” I hear my name over the megaphone.

Philip Ralph ’23 represents his class during the Middle School Pep Rally relays. Photo by Glen Williams.

Before I know it, my friends are hooting and hollering as I make my way to the gym floor. This being my first year at MICDS, I’ve never been to the Middle School Pep Rally before. These relay races are a fun way to get us excited about Homecoming—just one of the many parts that make up this tradition. And now I guess it’s my turn to represent my 7th grade class. I can hear the bleachers rattle as my classmates stomp and cheer. “Go Philip” they yell as I make the final  stretch.

Later that evening, I hear my name called again. “Hey Philip! We’re all getting in line,” my friend shouts as I shuffle down the steps by the pond and make my way to the Food Trucks. In just a few short weeks, I’ve managed to make some great friends.

We eat our BBQ looking on toward the new stadium. Tomorrow it will be packed with fans, myself included. My buddy snaps a cool photo of us with the new stadium in the background. #RamNation

My mom picks me and my brother, Walter ’21, up after the bonfire. As she drives us home, I think about how cool it is to be at a school with opportunities to celebrate traditions like we have here. Plus, even in Middle School I get the chance to play soccer on an organized team. Pretty awesome!

Kavitha Kosuri, Mother of Kriya Doshi `25 and Kethan Doshi `28

It’ll be a quick pop-over to the tennis courts to watch the Girls Varsity team play.

Kavitha Kosuri and children Kethan Doshi ’28 and Kriya Doshi ’25 watch the MICDS-JBS Varsity Girls Tennis match.

They’re likely to return to State again this year, just as they did last year with a 3rd place win. This is one sport where the rivalry between MICDS and Burroughs is especially fun to watch, as both teams bring with them a great deal of talent. Kriya ’25 has hopes to play on the tennis team one day. She has a lesson in about an hour and a half. But first, the Homecoming Carnival, our favorite Homecoming tradition. I’m so thankful we’re at a school that has something for kids of all ages  and interests.

Both Kethan ’28 and Kriya run ahead. They can’t burst through the doors of the MAC fast enough. Inflatables, popcorn, face painting, a photo booth and more await. We make the rounds. Kethan stays a little closer, as Kriya runs off with her friends. It’s hard to believe Kriya was once a Lower Schooler, now  in Middle School and with a blossoming social life. As a 2nd grader, Kethan has many more years left to enjoy the Carnival, and it’s fun to see it e

volve each year. Perhaps my favorite part is watching the little ones look up to the Upper Schoolers who lead the activities. This weekend is always filled with those  kinds of moments for me, and I hope Kethan and Kriya grow up to become the kinds of role models the Upper School students have been for them.

Chrissy Simon Sugavanam ’85, Mother of Jason ’18, Kevin ’19 and Lauren ’21

The game’s about to start, and we’ve claimed our places.

Chrissy Simon Sugavanam `85 and brother Kenny Simon `79 cheer on Jason `18 and Kevin Sugavanam `19 as they take the field.

My boys, Jason ’18 and Kevin ’19, are on the field, and Lauren ’21 will soon wander off with her friends. I’m in my usual spot, next to my mom, Caryl Green Simon ’55, a loyal and lifelong   fan of the Rams. As a talented athlete and 1999 inductee into Mary Institute’s Athletic Hall of Fame, it’s safe to say her heart bled green long before red, although now they go hand in hand.

Our family has many a story to tell. In fact, Lauren, along with her triplet cousins, Liam ’21, Sophia ’21 and Morgan Weber ’21, round us out to 25 legacies from our extended family. It’s crazy to think our MICDS roots span nearly 90 years! The campus looks a lot different from the day my grandmother, Caryl “Betty” Rosen (nee King) ’31, first walked Mary Institute’s new campus in 1930. Her class of 1931 was the first MI class to spend their senior year here on Warson Road—and she was the May Queen that year to top it off! After she was crowned queen, her father (my great grandfather) gave her flowers and said, “To my King who is May Queen.” That’s a story I hope my children continue to tell.

Chrissy Simon Sugavanam `85, Kenny Simon `79, Lauren Sugavanam `21, Caryl Green Simon `55, Molly Sims Weber `81, Morgan Weber `21, Liam Weber `21 and Sophia Weber `21 gather as an extended family before the game.

As for me, it’s always a nostalgic feeling to walk this campus. It brings back old memories—time spent in chapel, social activities with the boys at Country Day, May Day and graduation. Those moments hold new meaning for me now that I’m a current parent watching my children

grow up here, forging stronger friendships with alumni who were classmates and friends and enjoying the way MICDS balances the legacies of the past with present and future needs.

Speaking of traditions, football is a big one in our family. My brothers, Steve Simon ’81 and Ken Simon ’79, played for CDS along with my father, Kurt Simon ’54. And now, my boys. We wouldn’t miss a game, especially in this new stadium and field. What fun! I hope this Homecoming tradition continues long after my three children have graduated. Maybe someday I’ll be like my mom, cheering on my grandsons in this classic MICDS- Burroughs rivalry. And if we win like we did today, 52-0, the tradition will be that much sweeter year after year!

Preston Buchanan `18

My heart beats along with the pump-up music echoing through the locker room.

Preston Buchanan ’18 wears his enthusiasm before the big game against Burroughs.

I look around and see my teammates and coaches. I lift my cleat onto the locker room bench, my helmet resting beside it. While I tighten my shoelaces, Coach Buha gives me a pat on the back as he walks by, clipboard in hand. Having him, Coach Smith and other mentors right beside me all four years has been a blessing—them and the players. They’re the people who’ve made my MICDS experience so special. When I started as a freshman, I looked up to the seniors on the team. They were like big brothers to me. It’s hard to believe I’m in their shoes now.

Water. I can’t forget to drink water to stay hydrated. The music’s still pounding, but now I’m focused. Centering into a meditative state, ready for kick-off.

As the game begins, the energy shifts to the crowd—a roaring sea of red, white and green. The massive Rams Army runs by the field at kickoff, filling the student section with noise and cheers. The Ram lifts his hands to rile the crowd. Louder and louder. And here we go, the 2017 Varsity Football team, ready to take on Burroughs. It’s our first season playing on the turf field with the fans filling up the bleachers of the new stadium. My friends tell me how lucky I am to get to play on one of the best high school football fields in the greater St. Louis area. I agree.

It’s the first quarter of the game. I can hear my name over the loud speaker. “Great catch by MICDS’ #1 Preston Buchanan,” the announcer shouts. “Touchdown, Rams!” I can hardly hear him. It’s time to cheer on our defensive line. Beat the Bombers. That’s the Homecoming mantra.

Great catch by Preston Buchanan ’18!

52-0, Rams—the final score. What a rush. I can’t believe it’s already over. My last Homecoming on this side of the field. Hopefully this time next year, I’ll be on a different field, playing college ball. But for now, it’s time to study. That paper for Mr. Small’s Race and Sports class isn’t going to write itself, and I still have numbers to crunch for my AP Statistics exam next week. College admission essays await too. It’s going by so fast. I better soak up this last chapter of my MICDS career as a student-athlete. It’s been one for the books!