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The Panther Press

The Panther Press

San Domenico grooves to the rhythm of first ever Homecoming

SD+Students+dancing+to+the+Homecoming+Music
Merritt Sellers
SD Students dancing to the Homecoming Music

On a sunny Saturday morning, San Domenico had its first ever homecoming. Students were outside enjoying the day from at 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Along with the games, students enjoyed food, music, face painting and Panther spirit! Shirts were sold for participants to remember this momentous occasion. After the last game was finished, students went home and returned at 8 p.m. for the homecoming dance; everyone had a blast dancing and building new bonds with classmates at the first dance of the year. 

 

Women’s Varsity Water Polo

 

Kicking off the homecoming spirit early in the morning, the women’s varsity water polo game held in the Sister Gervaise Aquatic Center at San Domenico, overflowed with energy and enthusiasm. Players from both San Domenico and San Marin High School, Novato, California, hustled to score their goals and kept the audience at the edge of their seats.

Head coaches for women’s water polo teams from both San Marin and San Domenico, Patricia Dougherty and Giorgio Chico, elaborated on the hard work that both sides put into playing this game and their visible resilience. 

“They worked really hard,” Dougherty said. “We had three girls who are new to waterpolo play a full game, which on its own is an accomplishment.” 

Ending the second period with five goals for San Marin and two for San Domenico and the final period with 10 goals for San Marin and six for San Domenico, both teams held strong defenses throughout the game. 

Playing with only seven players throughout the game, San Marin players stepped up to support each other and played their best. At the same time, as the game progressed, San Domenico players were rewarded for their hard work as the players demonstrated phenomenal growth and improvement in their organization and communication.

By the end of the game, Lauren Kurtzman ‘25 had scored three goals for San Domenico and Hazel Loskutoff ‘27 had scored four goals for San Marin High School, scoring the most goals for their respective teams. 

Pete Jolly, the score keeper for the women’s varsity water polo game and the head coach for the varsity men’s water polo team, spoke about what the game meant to the players in San Domenico’s women’s water polo team:

“It means a lot just being the first ever homecoming that San Domenico is offering this year,” Pete Jolly said. “To be able to have them play and show their school pride on a day like homecoming is…awesome.” 

The game had a lot to offer to both teams and even though, as in any game, players were faced with both challenges and victories. “Both teams didn’t give up,” Chico said.

 

Varsity Flag Football

 

Following the spirit of the varsity women’s water polo game, the varsity flag football game held on Kesterson Field against Valley Christian High School, kept up the balance between friendly competition and athletic drive. From the moment Griffin ‘25  scored the first touchdown for San Domenico, the players kept up their winning streak until the very end. 

Simultaneously, Valley Christian players worked hard to make their place on the field and played together to give their best.  

San Domenico won the game finishing off strong with a score of 40-14.

The game held an individual and unique significance for everyone who came to experience its thrill. For Natalie Gupta, a San Domenico parent and parent ambassador, the game was an opportunity for her to expose her first grade daughter to different sports and the significance of women in sports. While for Amrita Randhawa, a Valley Christian player’s parent, the game was a meaningful and positive experience for the players, including her son.

“The score says one thing but we’re also looking at the way the kids are working together and…giving it their all,” Randhawa said. “This game is everything to the kids.”

This photo is courtesy of Tristan Bowen. San Domenico Varsity Flag Football player playing against Valley Christian players.

During halftime for the flag football game, San Domenico recognized outstanding alumni athletes. Sasha Nagler from the class of 2013 and Rachel Nagler from the class of 2015, two of the athletes who were honored during the event, plunged into the nostalgia of being back on the San Domenico Campus.

 

“We still see teachers that taught us…and to see how that stayed constant, there is a sense of comfort in that,” Sasha Nagler said. 

According to Ben Putman, the head coach for San Domenico’s varsity flag football team, the homecoming game was a positive influence on the school’s spirit.

“[The game was a] big boost for morale, not only for the team but the school [as well],” Putman said. “We were where we needed to be.” 

 

Junior Varsity and Varsity Volleyball

 

The junior varsity girls volleyball game and varsity girls volleyball game held at the Katherine Kaime Kasper Gym, reflected the culture of support for high school sports at San Domenico as the gym filled with cheers.

The junior varsity girls volleyball game between San Domenico School and International High School began and ended with high energy between both teams.

Reflecting back on the game and the potential lessons from their loss, San Domenico’s Director of Volleyball, John Hedlund, took pride in his team’s progress and growth. “Our JV team is getting better by each match,” Hedlund said. 

Identical in energy, the varsity girls volleyball game experienced a thrilling wave of enthusiasm from the spectating students. 

Olivia Williams ‘24, the team captain for varsity women’s volleyball at San Domenico, was prideful about the performance of her team players during the game and appreciative of her community as well. 

“I was proud of how people stepped in,” Williams said.  “I am just grateful to have such a supportive community who comes out and comes to all the games.”

International High School won the varsity girls volleyball game by a score of 1-3. 

Williams also shared her team’s experience with their mascot, Dave, who is known as a “little black jelly belly,” Williams said. Passing Dave around in a circle, the team gives kudos to each other after every game. 

The volleyball game was another successful step for both San Domenico and International High School as they moved closer to NCS. 

“Our goal is to finish off the league as best as we can and to qualify for NCS,” Hedlund said. 

 

Varsity Men’s Water Polo

 

At 2:15 in the afternoon, the first whistle blew, starting one of the first ever San Domenico homecoming games. Men’s water polo lost to Archie Williams (11-4), with goals scored by Koan Nayfack ‘25, Zane Schuman ‘27, and two from Vukasin Ragac ‘24. Despite the loss, the team feels that each and every game is a learning experience.

Zane Schuman, a freshman and one of the most beneficial players on the team said, “We’ve gotten better every game, and then the next game we apply what we have learned, and then it usually gets better every game.” 

Shuman has high hopes for the team in the future, as a freshman he still has three years left with the team. 

This photo is courtesy of Tristan Bowen. San Domenico Varsity Men’s Water Polo player holding the ball in their hand.

The team is hoping to rebuild the team and try to get it back to how it was before.

“Last year, we had a really good team. We had three guys who played for the national team in their own country,” Ragac said.

But with the loss of these players, the team has not had as much success. 

Ragac said his favorite part of playing for San Domenico isn’t about winning, it’s about the people.

“The friends I make along the way— it’s a fun group of people to be around,” Ragac said.

 

Homecoming dance

 

Saturday night sparkled in the lights of Vegas and the bedazzled dresses of teenagers. In excitement,  upper school students shuffled into Dominican Hall for San Domenico’s first ever homecoming. The school was founded in 1850 and homecoming became popularized around the 1920s. For the past 100 years, San Domenico students have missed out on a traditional American high school experience you see in the movies. Student body president, Daphne Shlain, had some thoughts on the matter.

“I know we’ve done a lot of dances in the past and as much as they were fun, it wasn’t a traditional high school experience,” Shlain said. “San Domenico being international is unlike any other school, but definitely people still want to have a homecoming.”

This year is different for San Domenico and the student council. At the end of last year, many students campaigned for student council by promising a homecoming. Amanda Tredinnick, the student council teacher, took a step back this year to let the students lead the production of this dance.

“This was mostly a combination of student initiatives,” Tredinnick said. “It’s very much not about me. It’s is the students making this event happen for their peers.”

From the food, to the music, to the theme, students were in charge of the dance.

SD Students dancing to Homecoming music (Merritt Sellers)

 

New ninth grader Emi Fleitas had never been to a school dance and was brimming with excitement.

“This definitely exceeded my expectations,” Fleitas said

Students were jumping, moshing, and chanting and the volume of the music was all the way up.

“It’s not just everyone in their different groups. Everybody dances together,” Fleitas said.

High school senior Dashell Fairborn said even though  they only get one homecoming, they are still proud. 

“You know it was Addy who made it happen, and it’s kinda our class’s legacy,” Fairborn said. “This is how we’ll be remembered.”

Senior and public events coordinator Addison Samway was a big part in the student force making this happen. She thinks that this dance marks a shift in San Domenico.

 “I really think that this  shows a turn and how the school is going to work and how it’s going to be more student oriented,” Samway said.

The night was a successful one and San Domenico students left with the all American high school experience.

 

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About the Contributors
Aarya Chowdhry, Head Copy Editor
Hello! I am a senior at San Domenico School and a contributor to The Panther Press. I have a passion for learning and researching. I love writing about women's rights and social justice. Other than that, I am a fan of badminton, YAF novels and writing poetry!
Merritt Sellers, Head Illustrator/Social Media Manager/Reporter
Merritt Sellers is a sophomore at San Domenico and a contributor of The Panther Press. She enjoys sailing, sewing, and art.
Delaney Whaley, Sports Editor
Delaney is a sophomore at San Domenico School. She is a contributor of The Panther Press. She enjoys playing basketball, listening to music, and hanging out with friends.

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