-- A high school's creative social media campaign to get Tom Hanks to attend its homecoming may have paid off.
The actor tweeted Monday night that he's "working on something for the Festivities," seemingly making the students' dreams come true.
It all started last week when Kerman High School's "Big" campaign to get the Hollywood A-lister to attend the Oct. 9 homecoming started going viral with the hashtag #TomHanks2KermanHC.
“Our homecoming is huge. It’s a small town, about 14,000 people,” Margaret Nichols, the assistant principal at the Kerman, California, school told ABC News. “Homecoming is a huge event for our whole community so each year we pick a theme. This year it’s Tom Hanks movies. And then everyone thought, ‘Well, let's try to get him here.’”
And that’s exactly what they’re doing. The entire community has launched a huge social media campaign, creating Twitter and Facebook pages under the name and hashtag #TomHanks2KermanHC to try to get the actor’s attention.
“Our pie-in-the-sky dream would be for him to come be our Grand Marshal, but even a personal shout out on social media or a 15-second video would be great,” Nichols said. “Just for him to acknowledge us, the kids would be so excited.”
The school coincidentally does have a connection to Hanks, albeit small. A former Kerman high school principal is related to the Oscar-winner.
“I grew up in Kerman. I’ve been here all my life and went to school here,” Nichols explained. “My principal when I was here is actually second cousins with him, but he hasn’t seen him in 30 years.”
The students have been busy creating banners and signs to place all over the school in celebration of their Tom Hanks-themed homecoming. They’re even using entertaining catchphrases to get Hanks’ attention.
“Life is like a box of chocolates, and it will be even sweeter if you come to Kerman’s homecoming,” one student told ABC affiliate KFSN-TV in Fesno.
“There’s no crying in baseball but there will be some crying in Kerman if you don’t show up to homecoming,” another said.
So far the seniors have chosen to make a “Forrest Gump”-themed float, the juniors are doing a “Toy Story” float and the sophomores are working on a “Big”-themed float. The freshmen haven’t decided yet (because they were waiting on the seniors to decide first), but will know shortly.
“The underlying idea was to bring our campus and community together to go towards one goal and it’s really happening,” Nichols said of their homecoming efforts. “The teachers are all really on board and it’s created a buzz and it’s just gone all over and you can just feel the excitement in the air.”
More than anything, the entire community would love Tom Hanks to acknowledge the social media campaign to give these students the story of a lifetime.
“Oh, my gosh, I would be so excited for the kids,” Nichols says. “They’ve worked so hard and they’re very passionately attached to this campaign. Just to see their excitement would mean everything. We have a great student body and I’d love to see it happen for them.
“We’re trying to keep their hopes up but I also don’t want them to be crushed. If he could just acknowledge us at least, that would mean the world.”