EVHS Presents Virtual Homecoming, Deco Team Turns to Multimedia

Class of 2021's Zoom background, based on Spirited Away.

Class of 2021’s Zoom background, based on Spirited Away.

Saddened by the cancellation of last year’s Battle of the Classes, the staff and student body of Evergreen Valley High School have put their heads together to return the lively Cougar spirit. Through the sumptuary circumstances, the school’s very first (and only, hopefully) virtual homecoming has arrived! 

Many students are familiar with EV’s infamous homecoming decorations, whether that may be the vibrant hallways of A building, the banners that march around the stadium on the day of the rally, or the matching costumes worn by ADC and powderpuff. Now of course, the students cannot all collaborate on a Monday night to finish painting posters or hanging streamers, but each class still has their own part to play in terms of deco this year.

Deco this year has come in the form of a virtual Zoom background, an Instagram 3×3 collage, and a comic strip for each class in correspondence with their subtheme.

The subtheme for the class of 2024 was Howl’s Moving Castle. The class officers of 2024 worked hard to put together three beautiful pieces inspired by the movie.

The process behind creating each piece was incorporating important characters/aspects/scenes from the movie. We wanted to ensure that these were brought into the art,” said the Public Relations officer of 2024. This is definitely reflected in the artwork which includes important scenes from the movies.   

All the pieces were finished fairly quickly, everything was completed in around a week. The comic strip took two days and the 3×3 only took a few days. The team worked together to create pieces that looked unified and at the same time had their own charm.

While things finished quickly and the end results looked stunning, the officers had to work through obstacles. They had a hard time finding people to work on the art. However, after asking around, they found a few people who were “dedicated to making the art and representing 2024 in deco.”

For one last remark to the student body, the Public Relations Officer, Vanessa Vu, says, “I just wanted to say a big shoutout to our artists that made these incredible pieces of art!” It’s clear that the class officers worked hard this year to make sure that homecoming was spectacular for the class of 2024.

The class of 2023’s virtual subtheme was My Neighbor Totoro. For more insight into the team’s work process, we interviewed the sophomore deco head, Chau Phan. The main inspiration for most of the artwork revolved around key characters and moments in the film. “We had to capture the whimsical nature of this movie into the artwork to present to the class of  2023,” Chau says, “We made sure to capture key characters and moments into each piece while adding our own personal style into the work.” 

Before homecoming week, the deco committee was given three weeks to complete all of the assigned projects. Chau mentions that the 3×3 collage and comic strip pieces took close to two weeks to complete, while the virtual background was finished in one week. They dedicated a lot of their time “planning and mapping out ideas” to incorporate into the pieces. In order to work more efficiently through the projects, the work was split into three groups to work on each project. The two other co-heads in charge were Tracy Nguyen and Lisa Pham. Chau says, “Within these groups, the bond and atmosphere was incredibly friendly and understanding.” I’m sure that the committee members appreciated her likewise.

In terms of the multimedia set up this year, Chau’s thoughts were, “The meets were much more organized and thoroughly thought out. Communication was right under our fingertips, and discussions were less than a text away.” Since a majority of the deco members were not familiar with digital art, communication between the heads and the members was especially important this year. 

The most time consuming and challenging piece out of the three projects was the 3×3 collage. “Because of the differences between digital and traditional artwork, there was a line that divided those who worked under this piece,” Chau explains, “Since this piece was very largely scaled, our committee members were stuck as to how we were going to complete this project.” Despite the complications, the committee members were able to create an incredible 3×3 collage.

The class of 2022’s virtual subtheme was Ponyo. The juniors did a great job of incorporating key points from the film. For more details, we asked their Public Relations officer, Maleina Aguinaldo. At first, Maleina was worried about the new adjustment, “I was sad that we couldn’t do deco the way that we traditionally do, but I was excited that we were using a different medium. I know our class has really talented digital artists, so I was very excited that we could finally showcase their talents too.” Nonetheless, Maleina had faith in their artists’ skills, anticipating tremendous results. 

Maleina says the committee’s inspiration was to stay true and clear to the theme, “referencing our work, mainly focusing on the aspects of the film.” The deco committee took a little under a week to complete all the pieces together, working well under such a short amount of time. Malenia also mentioned, “ The 3×3 collage took the longest out of all the pieces.” From the class of 2022’s statement, it seems that the juniors dedicated time to the artwork reflected in their pieces.

As for Maleina’s favorite piece, she couldn’t make a decision. “I can’t pick! I really liked how the jellyfish moved in the zoom background, the detail in the 3×3 collage and how adorable the comic was,” Maleina explained. I could assume how difficult it is for the student body to pick as well. In contrast to the standard homecoming deco setup, Aguinaldo mentioned, “Everything was done through digital art this year unlike the paint and paper that we usually use for homecoming. We definitely miss walking into A building and being surrounded by the artwork, but the small details in the digital art is what makes it extra special.” Saddened with the new change this year, the class of 2022 was able to come up with unique, creative pieces shocking everyone.

The class of 2021’s virtual subtheme was Spirited Away. To get a little more of an inside look on this year’s virtual deco set up, we asked Ariel Pho what her thoughts were. Pho’s initial thoughts on the assignment was, “It was a little confusing…but my team has known each other for a while now and I trusted them so it wasn’t a huge worry of mine.” I suppose time and familiarity was to the seniors’ advantage in this case. Pho also mentioned that the team’s inspiration for the multimedia projects were “strong and clear,” and that they chose “iconic moments” from the movie itself. You can never go wrong with the basics. Each project was started on October 10th and was expected to be done on the 19th of the month, therefore it took a little over a week for each piece. Considering the circumstances, it’s safe to say that the team did a great job capturing a unified and powerful theme. In terms of her favorite piece, Pho chose the bathhouse. “It’s so iconic and memorable and the details are amazing,” she says, “I worked on the base coloring so I can’t even imagine how hard the lineart/sketch was for that.” From her words, it seems as though detail was definitely not left out. 

The senior deco team withholds lots of experience with this form of art, which is pretty obvious by the looks of their final pieces. In comparison with the usual homecoming decorations, Pho says, “There was some trouble passing around file types but in the end everything worked out.” She also mentioned that “digital art has a lot of convenient tools” lessening the amount of stress brought by long hours of staying at school to paint banners along with the already prevalent workload of distance learning. 

For one last message to the student body, Pho adds, “Thank you for allowing me to serve as your hoco deco leader for all four years!”