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By Cynthia Haggitt
Two men cloaked in complete darkness white wearing a gown are ushered in front of the stands on the Panther football field during the Homecoming game. Both men are a former graduate who had played football during their senior year at Jersey Community High School, was revealed to the crowd as the year’s Homecoming Spirit. As has been done for many years, a dinner is held prior to the Homecoming football game in which the spirits are invited. During the dinner, an elected group of spirits vote for the new spirit with a simple majority determining who he will be. The votes are counted secretly by the athletic director, who also contacts the winner, so that the spirit remains anonymous until the Homecoming game. This year’s spirits were chosen from the 1995 football team and 1996 football team. The chosen spirit from the 1995 team is Jason Brunaugh and the 1996 football team spirit is Darren Perdun from the 1996 team.
Along with the football stipulation, the spirit had to be someone with leadership, morals, sportsmanship and character who had given back to the community in some w previous spirits during the ceremony at the game. Jersey Community is the only high school to have a spirit making it a truly unique Jerseyville tradition.The tradition was started by former band director Claude Smith, who also composed the school song, and former coach Joe Jurkanian in 1954 to encourage greater attendance at football games and to motivate incoming freshmen to try out.