After a year’s break from the games due to the pandemic, Homecoming Week shined a spotlight on the bright spirit and pride of our students, families, and alumni. Highlighted by the annual Powder Keg Games against Tilton School, the week began with spirit week and several senior games. It continued Friday with the debut of the fall play How to Roommate and, simultaneously, a dinner to honor the individuals set for induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday morning. Students also gathered Friday evening for a pep rally in anticipation of Saturday’s events. One thing became clear early on—while many new students had never experienced homecoming—the Husky Howler energy was contagious and embraced by all.
The Athletic Hall of Fame
The Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony, hosted bi-annually at New Hampton School, helps stage the importance of Powder Keg and our school’s athletic tradition. The individuals and teams honored in the ceremony have used their New Hampton experience as a launch point for successful careers as athletes and into the professional world of athletics as coaches, program leaders, and game-changers on and off the field, court, or ice. This year’s inductees included one coach, a female athlete, two male athletes, one team, and a family—a new category added this year—as additions to the current Athletic Hall of Fame members. This marked our 10th induction class, a fitting milestone for our bicentennial celebrations.
Powder Keg 2021 kicked off with an opening ceremony with both schools present, our mascots Harry the Husky and Rusty the Ram, and a national anthem performance by students and faculty. While the rivalry started as a football game classic in 1895, New Hampton and Tilton currently compete in a slate of games—a single game win or loss can change the day’s fate. The scoring for Powder Keg offers one to two points per game win.
New Hampton School earned two points before the weekend as the mountain biking, and cross country teams scored one point each, offering an optimistic air to the games themselves. First up on Saturday were the Varsity Field Hockey and Men’s Varsity Soccer teams. The Huskies got down to business in both games as the fans rallied on the sidelines, with excellent fall weather conditions and sunny skies boosting the sense of occasion. Soon those games were secured, with men’s soccer winning 8-1 and field hockey boasting a 7-1 victory. The final contests for the day were Women’s Varsity Soccer, who held a tight game with the Rams and ultimately won 3-1, and the Men’s Varsity Football team. Without a few key players, the Rams proved to be too difficult to contain despite an early touchdown by the Huskies, falling to Tilton 7-27. The final Powder Keg point score, however, saw the Huskies dominate with an 8-2 victory.
Pride and History
Throughout the day, the sidelines and concession tent were full of faces coming and going. Many people stopped for a picture of themselves with the Powder Keg, reminiscing over wins and losses over the years as marked by the small, inscribed plaques on the face of the Civil War era keg, or simply, quietly rubbing the top of the keg for good luck in the day’s games. Students, parents, as well as many alumni and friends, gathered under the tent for warm drinks, food, and conversation—not to mention a stellar halftime show performance by the Contemporary Performance Lab crew. Refrains of Ozzy Osbourne, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Wonder, Joan Jett, and more blasted through the air for fans of both schools to enjoy.
Homecoming helps highlight our community and athletic tradition in a way that has transcended generations of Huskies. Though our teams and athletes are competitive and love to win, they also love to play, cheer, support, and share their pride in the school and each other. The alumni that return, whether as Athletic Hall of Fame inductees or simply lifelong Huskies, remind us that sports are about more than the score. The strength of character and leadership we gain through athletics will stay with us into the future.