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Homecoming Royalty Dance in review

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Colorado State University-Pueblo held its annual Homecoming dance Saturday night. This year, the Homecoming was historic because this was the first time an openly gay man and a 60-year-old woman both ran for Homecoming Queen.
Homecoming King, Eddie Watson, and Queen, Jasmine Wells, dance together. photo by Simone Peinkofer
Homecoming King, Eddie Watson, and Queen, Jasmine Wells, dance together. photo by Simone Peinkofer
Though the dance was to start at 7 p.m., students didn’t start arriving until around 9 p.m. The dress code was supposed to be formal attire, though many students wore clothing more appropriate for going to a club. The highlight of the nights was the dance featuring the Homecoming King and Queen.

Nicky Damania, the director of student activities said there was always a homecoming week, but nothing of this magnitude.

“There was a homecoming, but nothing too huge. Since the start of football and my arrival here, I’ve tried to push for a bigger and better homecoming that reaches out to our students and alumni,” he said.

Damania said he thought the diversity of the nominees for Homecoming Queen is a reflection the university has towards tolerance.

“Diversity is always something the university appreciates and teaches our students,” he said.

Damania said the homecoming week celebrations this year differed from the ones in the past because this year all of the activities are new and designed for students and alumni.

Damania said even though he doesn’t know how a homecoming court of this type will change the many courts to come, he said he does know how the candidates have shown how the campus supports tolerance and diversity.

“Taylor is a passionate person about diversity and respects all individuals as a whole. Yes, I am sure he has broadened the views of many individuals about the male-female dichotomy. What Taylor represents is a strong view about breaking that dichotomy in an educational [way],” he said.

“Any student in good standing who meets the eligibility requirements can run for the posts, and the student voters will decide who they want to have represent them,” Damania said. “All of the students are good students and meet the requirements.”

Damania said he thought the community also accepted the diversity of the court this year.

“As an institution of higher education, we respect the fact that students often come here seeking to turn their lives around and to make positive strides.  All of these candidates are people with great potential, and we view it as our mission to help them reach that potential,” he said.

Damania said he thought the alumni had mixed feelings about the nominees for Homecoming Queen.

“Well if you read any of the blogs and Web sites, you see a mix review of individuals’ opinions,” he said. “No matter want the issues come across, especially controversial issues, one can expect various views and opinions.”

“I am very happy that many individuals took time to learn about the issues no matter what their views are. It is time for us to talk more about various communities in the sexual and gender minorities,” Damania said.

Eddie Watson, Homecoming King, jokingly gets  on one knee for Homecoming Queen Jazmine Wells. photo by Simone Peinkerof
Eddie Watson, Homecoming King, jokingly gets on one knee for Homecoming Queen Jazmine Wells. photo by Simone Peinkerof

The crowns for Homecoming Queen and King were awarded to Eddie Watson, a sophomore double majoring in biology and Spanish with and emphasis in pre-dental and Jazmine Wells, a sophomore English major.

Wells said the application process was the most difficult part of campaigning for Homecoming Queen.

“First we had to fill out an application that asked us [about] our GPA. It [also] had two essay questions which [asked] what were come of our greatest accomplishments [at] CSU-Pueblo and why we would make a good queen,” she said.

“Then you have to get a petition signed with 50 signatures including [identification numbers] from the students. Then you have to go through an interview. The application was the hardest part,” Wells said.

Wells thought that she represented the student body on campus well.

“I think I’m a representative of the student body. Like I said in my application, I have good academics. My grades have always been good [and] I made the Dean’s List. I’m very sociable [and] I’m very involved,” she said.

“I go to all the events, I talk to a lot of people and I balance it too. It’s not like my social life is over my academics and I’m slacking or anything like that. [My education and social life] are balanced. So I think I represent the kids who like to have fun and the kid that like to concentrate in school,” Wells said.

Watson said he represented the surprises that everyone possesses in their personalities.

“I represent a lot of people because when you see me on the outside, at first I’m shy and mellow, you know, I’m cautious,” he said.

“Once you get to know me, I’m fun and outgoing, [but] still mellow though. I don’t like to get into a bunch of drama, so sometimes I act as the mediator,” Watson said.

Homecoming King, Eddie Watson is intervieweed by CSU-Pueblo TODAY writer, Jessica Miller. photo by Simone Peinkerof
Homecoming King, Eddie Watson is intervieweed by CSU-Pueblo TODAY writer, Jessica Miller. photo by Simone Peinkerof

Watson said he had his own criteria of how what a Homecoming King should be.

“[He’s] a person who enjoys campus events. People who just like to have a good time but [are] still dedicated to academics,” he said.

Wells thought an ideal Homecoming Queen was someone who is involved with her school.

“I think an ideal Homecoming Queen is [someone who] knows what is going on. [Someone who’s] involved with her school [and who’s] easy to talk to and she’s humble,” she said.

“She’s not full of herself, she can communicate with others, she has conversations [and] she’s friendly,” Wells said. “She wants to know what’s going on in the school. She wants to be involved.”

Watson said he thought the diversity of the court was a reflection of the campus as a whole.

“To me, it wasn’t much as a surprise just because homecoming was so new. We still have a lot of non-traditional students that come here and we’re still considered non-traditional even though most people don’t like that term,” he said.

“So when you open up a Homecoming event like this, you’re bound to just get everyone, even people you don’t expect to run,” Watson said.

Wells said thought the diversity of the Homecoming court made the competition more interesting.

“I think it was very diverse. I think that was what made the competition good. The competition was strong, it was just amazing. I never was a homecoming like this. Usually the Homecoming queens are all the same,” she said.

“They all have good grades; they basically look the same. This year was very different, so it was hard and me winning made me honored because I know the school was behind me,” Wells said.
 
Watson said he ran for Homecoming King because it was something that was out of the ordinary for him.

“I ran because when I was in high school, I couldn’t relate to the people that I went to school with. When I came out here, I could relate to a bunch of people and it just gave me the drive to step out of the boundaries and try something I’ve never done before,” he said.

Watson and Wells both have goals for the future in which they said will try everything to succeed.

“My main goal is to become an orthodontist. In high school, I did a med prep course, and I did an internship at an orthodontist office and I loved it,” he said.

Watson said “my goal is to get into dental school, stay in dental school and graduate and successfully open my own practice.”

“Right now one of my biggest dreams is to get my masters and become an English teacher here. I want to be involved with this school for a long time,” she said.

“[I] just want to be successful, to be proud of myself and to do things for others. If I can change one person’s life or have an impact of their life, I think that’s one of my main goals,” Watson said.

Though the king and queen are both busy with school, they said they still have time to indulge in their hobbies.

“When you’re taking such a strong load and a bunch of science classes, your hobbies kind of dwindle down. So right now it’s academics and hanging out with close friends,” he said.

“Make sure you keep up the networking because those are the people that will help you get to where you want to go. Before college, I was active in soccer, karate and reading,” Watson said.

“I like to write. When I came here, I discovered that I was pretty good at writing, so now I like to write a lot, [Whether] it’s poems or little quotes I make up. I [also] like to draw in my spare time,” Wells said.

Wells said she thought the diversity of the court showed how much tolerance the university has.

Homecoming Queen Jazmine Wells is interviewed by CSU-Pueblo TODAY writer, Jessica Miller. photo by Simone Peinkofer
Homecoming Queen Jazmine Wells is interviewed by CSU-Pueblo TODAY writer, Jessica Miller. photo by Simone Peinkofer

“I think the diversity makes people notice that there’s not just one group here; that this school has a lot going on. [The university has] a lot of different people and that this school is together,” she said.

 “There are a lot of different groups that support each other. I think it represents the school well because we have a lot of diversity going on. [We have] a lot of ethnicities but it’s close, it’s a family. Nobody is against each other,” Wells said.

Watson said the next Homecoming King has to be able to unify the campus.

“As this campus is growing, we still need unity. A lot of different departments are running by themselves, so if we get someone who can unify the whole campus instead of just going to class, doing well and going back to the dorm, that would be great,” he said.

Wells said she wants the next Homecoming Queen to be able to balance school and being involved with campus activities.

“My goal for her is to have an academic life, have a social life and to just be involved and to just know what’s going on in the school. Go to the football games, get to know people and represent the school well,” she said.

“[I want her to] believe in herself. If she doesn’t believe in herself, she doesn’t have a chance. So I want her first achievement to be to have confidence in herself,” Wells said.

The CSU-Pueblo TODAY has posted photos from Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Homecoming Royalty Dance, held Oct. 21 in the Occhiato University Center Ballroom. Check out the photos, and if you’re in any of them, let us know who you are.