Homecoming hopefuls take next step to crown

Prerna Tomar

Twenty students aspiring to be Homecoming king and queen strutted their stuff at Northwestern’s first-ever Royalty Pageant, kicking off a week of Homecoming activities.

The nominees’ school spirit, talent, humor and excitement entertained an audience of about 100 students Sunday night in Fisk Hall.

“I’m really glad people came out and had a great time,” said McCormick senior Tia Barnes, the Homecoming Advisory Board’s royalty chairwoman. “This is the first event of the week and the first time we’re holding (the pageant), so now you are not just voting but seeing everyone’s personality and voting. This really adds to the sense of community we’re hoping to achieve.”

At the pageant, the 10 men and 10 women vying for king and queen honors displayed their many talents. These performances, including belly dancing, a humorous poetry recitation and a comic magic show, presented the audience with merits on which to judge the candidates.

“This was interesting because I wasn’t sure what to expect,” said Ebo Dawson-Andoh, a Homecoming king nominee and Education senior. “With good humor and lots of talented people, I had a pretty good time.”

Medill senior Ankur Bahl received a standing ovation for his energetic jump rope talent piece filled with cartwheels.

The opening of the pageant featured a one-on-one question and answer session with each nominee. Questions ranged from: “If you were going to turn to crime for a profession, what would it be and why?” to “If the U.S. had to sacrifice one state, which would it be and why?”

The weeklong celebration of Homecoming 2002 is aimed toward building school spirit and fostering a sense of community, Barnes said. She said the pageant helped achieve that goal.

Social and philanthropic activities for alumni, students and the public will be held all week long in order to encourage Northwestern pride, Barnes said.

“Everybody here has grown up together for the past four years at Northwestern, and (the pageant) is a great idea because voting is so impersonal,” said nominee Nicole Mash, a Weinberg senior. “Everyone gets to see us at our best and worst when we are put on the spot.”

Five men and five women will be selected from the pool of 20 after tallying online ballots. Voting for king and queen finalists starts started Sunday night and continues until Wednesday at noon.

The 10 finalists will be announced Wednesday night at Nevin’s Live, 1450 Sherman Ave.

Homecoming celebrations continue Thursday with a senior bar night at Prairie Moon and Friday night with the Homecoming Parade, which will feature a circus theme. The week wraps up Saturday with Associated Student Government’s second student tailgate prior to the football game against Purdue University.