Penguin Royalty: 2014 Homecoming Week

Pictured from left: Gino West, Scott Miller, Sydney Sims, Rebecca Banks, Everet Thompson, Alteeka Vanwright, Julian Jones, Ashley Smith, Paige Taylor, James MacGregor.

Take a stroll around Youngstown State University this week, and you’re sure to find sidewalk chalk campaigns for Homecoming King and Queen every few steps. It’s all in the spirit of the season, as Homecoming is fast approaching, and the Homecoming Court was recently announced.

Carrie Anderson, assistant director of student activities, said there are big plans for Homecoming this year, with a theme of “Bright Lights, Red City.”

The Homecoming events will begin on Monday, Oct. 13 with spin-art shutter shades and the bungee run. On Tuesday, YSU will welcome a caricature artist and Jocko the Clown, who is a Homecoming tradition. Wednesday, Oct. 15 is Red and White Day, and Pepsi will be sponsoring prizes. Thursday is Build-A-Penguin Day, and Saturday is the main event.

“We have all kinds of events lined up,” Anderson said. “[On Thursday], Penguin Productions is having Fall Fire Fest at the Green on Grant Street. We have two eating contests. Also, we are looking to plan a corn hole tournament. The Newman Center does a cookout — they are just finalizing what evening they will have it on.”

Marissa Mraz, 2014 Homecoming Committee Chair, said the committee wanted to keep tradition alive this year throughout the events, and that some events are being kept secret.

“As a committee, we decided to keep many of the traditional events like Build-A-Penguin, fun with Jocko the Clown and caricature artist drawings,” Mraz said. “There are definitely many more events in the works, but students will have to wait to find out exactly what those are. Students can expect a fun-filled week, Oct. 13 through 18, with events during the day and night that help encourage Penguin Pride.”

On the Homecoming Court are Julian Jones, Rebecca Banks, James MacGregor, Sydney Sims, Scott Miller, Ashley Smith, Everet Thompson, Paige Taylor, Gino West and Alteeka Vanwright, all of whom are honored and excited.

The Homecoming Parade begins Saturday, Oct. 18 at 2 p.m., followed by the game at 4 p.m.

“[I’m excited for] the whole day,” West said. “I can’t wait to walk on the field looking super fresh in front of all my friends and family.”

All on the court were excited and thankful for the chance to participate in the events.

“Knowing that, out of 10,000 plus students, I was one out of five to make Homecoming Court is a great feeling,” Jones said. “It feels amazing.”

Banks, a non-traditional student at YSU, said she was dedicating her run to a lost loved one.

“I have dedicated this position to the memory of my son, Bruce Lavon Banks, and to Aaron Mahdee and to Anthony Harris Jr.,” Banks said. “These three young men lost their lives due to accidental drowning. Maybe one day they would have run for Homecoming.”

Thompson said student turnout for the election was good.

“Over 1,000 students voted,” Thompson said. “[I am] forever grateful and humbled for the nominations from YSU Binote Ambassador, Model United Nations, Panhellenic Council, Delta Zeta and Sigma Alpha Epsilon.”

Homecoming King and Queen will be announced during the Oct. 18 football game, against Southern Illinois University, during halftime.

“It sucks that we all can’t win,” Vanwright said. “One thing I have said during campaign is, ‘regardless if we win or lose, we are all still royalty.’”