When Burnet High School chose Sept. 20-24 as homecoming week, organizers didn’t know it was also the kickoff of Start With Hello, a national program that promotes inclusion among students. Principal Casey Burkhart said the two events go great together.
“Homecoming is all about the community coming together and celebrating the schools and students,” he said. “Start with Hello is about creating an atmosphere of inclusion and a welcoming culture at the school.”
Start with Hello is a program of Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit that aims to prevent school violence.
“The two things fit together, I think,” Burkhart added.
Burnet’s homecoming week includes daily themes, starting with an Hawaiian theme Monday, Sept. 20, and the use of “aloha,” which means “hello” but is also an expression of love.
The homecoming parade begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, on East Washington Street on the courthouse square in downtown Burnet. A bonfire pep rally follows at 7:45 p.m. at the high school, 1000 The Green Mile in Burnet.
On Friday, Sept. 24, the king and queen will be announced before the Bulldogs football game against Waco Robinson. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Field, 1401 N. Main St.
Throughout the week, Burnet Consolidated Independent School District campuses will participate in Start with Hello. The program was developed after the Dec. 14, 2014, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that claimed the lives of 26 people, including 20 children. Families of some of the children created Sandy Hook Promise in an effort to prevent future school violence. Start with Hello is designed to build inclusion on campuses as well as in the community.
In 2017 and 2020, Sandy Hook Promise recognized the efforts of Burnet Middle School for its work with Start with Hello.