UConn’s homecoming king and queen for 2016 were crowned last night at the Homecoming Pageant in the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. Hosted by the Student Union Board of Governors, the event featured participants from various cultural centers and Greek life communities.
Representing the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center, Kenyi Silva won homecoming king and Sarah McManus, from the Asian American Cultural Center, won queen.
While these two received the titles of king and queen, there were a total of four male contestants and five female contestants. The runners up for the title are as follows:
First place runner up—Andy Johnson (Beta Theta Pi)
Second place—Alexander Yang (Asian American Cultural Center)
Third place—Christian Turelli (Alpha Sigma Phi)
First place runner up—Carolina Reyes (Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center)
Second place—Dae-Zhane Boland (African American Cultural Center)
Third place—Danielle Soucie (Alpha Chi Omega)
Fourth place—Alanna Forsberg (UConn Irish Dance Team)
“This is my first time coming to this event,” second-semester psychology and political science double major Maria Junco said. “I’m excited to see all the performances.”
Junco came to watch and support a friend who was participating in the pageant.
Before the beauty pageant officially began, Sarah McManus gave a brief, but powerful speech on Jeffny Pally and her impact on the UConn community.
“In memory of Jeffny, let us honor her with a moment of silence,” said McManus. The room then became quiet for a few seconds in respect for Pally.
The royalty pageant consisted of three separate events: costume, performance and question and answer. Contestants were judged on the ability of their costumes to represent their organizations or themselves, their level of talent and entertainment in performing, and their integrity in answering questions on the UConn community.
In between sections, Greek life representatives and cultural fee-funded organizations participated in an alma mater singing competition. Each group placed their own twist on the alma mater. Highlights of these twists include beatboxing, rapping and powerful high notes.
In the costume segment, common outfit themes were the participants’ cultural backgrounds and their fraternities and sororities. Some even included items that represented career or social interests.
The performance segment featured incredible talent. Highlights include Soucie’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu, McManus’ piano solo on “Secret,” Johnson’s dance mashup of modern music and Silva’s performance of Latin dance.
Some performances were emotional. Boland read a poem she wrote titled “Family Business,” which discussed advocating equality for black men and women. Yang gave a speech on being thankful, using his father recently diagnosed with diabetes as inspiration.
The question and answer session was the last segment and focused on the UConn community. Questions were picked randomly for each contestant.
Turelli was asked, how does his particular organization embrace diversity? His response was that Alpha Sigma Phi accepts kids from different cultural backgrounds and religious beliefs.
“I know several kids that are gay,” said Turelli. “No other fraternities seem as open.”
Soucie was asked, what three characteristics would you attribute to a typical UConn student and why? Her response was loyalty, confidence and support. She said there has never been another school with so much pride and the university offers a lot, wanting every student to be confident.
McManus was asked, if you had a million dollars, how would you invest it in the university? Her response was to strengthen the humanities, social sciences and Neag school of education because the university has advanced so much in STEM fields, but there has not been as much growth for the social sciences.
“It was so much fun and nice to see all these organizations in support of one another,” Junco said.
Kevin Li is a campus correspondent for the Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.