Carlsbad’s Lancer Day history

A closer look at the unique history of Carlsbad High School’s Lancer Day

The first Lancer day in 1958 with queen Judy Collins and her princesses Natalie Vermilyea, Betty Bowman, and Jeannette Gastelum.

Calliandra Moody, Assistant Editor

Lancer Day is a tradition unique to Carlsbad High School. Since its instatement in 1957, Lancer Day has become a day for students to show their school spirit, and to come together as a school to celebrate.

CHS has been celebrating Lancer Day since 1957, though the first parade didn’t happen until 1959. There was no homecoming in 1957, because there had not yet been a graduating class. English teacher Jeffrey Spanier attended CHS from 1981 to 1985, and even made one of his best memories during Homecoming night.

“Well, I asked a girl out that I liked on Homecoming Lancer Day, and she said yes, and we went to Homecoming. Now she’s my wife, and she was a lancer too, and our kids both became lancers,” Spanier said. “But for me that’s my best memory of life, not just Lancer Day.”

Lancer Day and Homecoming are much anticipated by students and staff alike. It’s a day full of school spirit, when many students come out to watch the parade and the football game, and go to the dance the following day.

The parade has marched the same path around Carlsbad Village for 46 years, the first ever route being State Street in 1959, and it has become a tradition for everyone to get involved in, lancer or not. Whether it be cheering on the sidelines or getting to march in the parade, it has become a tradition for not only lancers but for the community as a whole.

“To me it’s special to my family of course, but just as a teacher here and former student here, I like that it seems like a day when we become like a small town again,” Spanier said. “Carlsbad doesn’t seem so much like a small town sometimes, but it’s a day where we can embrace our small town roots. We still have our parade, you see people of every age in purple, the elementary school students are marching along cheering, excited to be downtown in the parade, and that extends into the football game and the dance afterwards.”

Carlsbad’s long history has allowed for many traditions to develop, and while they have changed slightly over the years, they have remained largely the same since Lancer Day was founded. It’s a special day for the Carlsbad community, especially students and staff.

Although many schools have a homecoming, Lancer Day is a tradition unique to Carlsbad High School. The history of CHS is long, and although certain traditions may have changed, the spirit of the day continues to grow.

“But we’ve lost [the mandatory crowning assembly] which makes me kind of sad, and I’d love to see that tradition come back, but it’s also gained in that our ASB has never been this exciting, Loud Crowd at the football games has never been as loud or as exciting, so it’s gained in places just as it’s lost in places,” Spanier said. “Over the last three, four years, I really see the lancer spirit coming back, more kids wearing spirit wear, more kids even just on a normal day, not even lancer week. You see more and more of that over the last few years which is really exciting.”