The 2019-20 homecoming meet and greet was held in the TMB auditorium this past Tuesday, giving the chance for any JSU students to gain a bit more insight about the top ten candidates running for homecoming king and queen. Here are the top 15 candidates and a little bit about their philanthropies:
On Tuesday September 26, 2018, the candidates for Jacksonville State’s homecoming king and queen were joined with tons of JSU students, faculty members, and other supporters in Leone Cole Auditorium for the much-anticipated homecoming announcement.
Everyone was on the edge of their seat as they patiently waited for President Beehler and SGA President Kasey Gamble to announce the homecoming king and queen for the 2018-2019 year.
Finally, it was announced.
Jacksonville State’s 2018-19 Homecoming Queen and King are Madison Burrell and Stone Alexander.
“Representing the university I call home has always been such a great honor to me,” Alexander said after the announcement. “I am truly appreciative of the immense support I have received over the past few weeks and I can’t wait to continue working with m philanthropy on campus! I would like to thank everyone who voted for me! This is an amazing opportunity to reach the campus and community in a unique way, and I’m looking forward to it!”
Alexander was sponsored by Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. He is a junior majoring in pre-health professional biology.
Madison Burrell was sponsored by Sigma Alpha Omega Christian Sorority and serves as social committee head. She is a junior majoring in family and consumer science, with a focus in merchandising.
The homecoming queen took to Facebook to give a bit of a background about herself while running for homecoming queen. Madison’s platform is known as Know Your Worth. Burrell posted “I am so blessed to have this opportunity!”
Filling out the rest of the homecoming court for 2018 are Brianna Caudle, Dayleigh Dorsett, Ashlee Goff, Camden Swatts, Jakobe Perry, Jack Gehrdes, Antonio Dix and Eric Cline.
The new Homecoming court will take the field Saturday afternoon as Jacksonville State hosts Austin Peay for the homecoming game.
Jacksonville State University officially began “Homecoming season” on Thursday August 30, 2018 when it held its annual Homecoming Showcase.
The Showcase allows candidates to make their case as to why they should be crowned king or queen, while also telling attendees about their chosen philanthropic platform. 2018 is the third year that the Homecoming court has selected a charity or cause to raise awareness for while they campaign for votes.
“The Homecoming Showcase was a really enjoyable time,” said Eric Cline, who is one of the seven candidates for Homecoming King. “At the very core, I’m doing this to have fun. My plan was to have a good time on stage and hopefully get some laughs.”
After each of the candidates made their presentations, a panel of judges, each with strong ties to JSU, narrowed down the race for Homecoming Queen to 10. Just seven candidates applied to run for Homecoming King.
The Top 10 candidates for JSU’s 2018 Homecoming Queen are:
Jenna Bennett, a Finance major from Pelham, Alabama, is sponsored by Zeta Tau Alpha, and her platform is 2nd Chance, Inc.
Jessica Ray, an Exercise Science and Wellness and Biology major from Clay, Alabama, is sponsored by Alpha Omicron Pi, and her platform is the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Brooke Bennefield, a Special Education major from Rainbow City, Alabama, is sponsored by Alpha Omicron Pi, and her platform is Disabled Children’s Parntership.
Taylor Anne Beckham, a Pre-Health Biology major from Clifton, Tennessee, is sponsored by Alpha Omicron Pi, and her platform is Youth Health and Wellness.
Madison Burell, a Family and Consumer Science major from Jacksonville, Alabama, is sponsored by Sigma Alpha Omega, and her platform is Know Your Worth.
Ashlee Goff, a Psychology and Child Development major from Dallas, Georgia, is sponsored by Zeta Tau Alpha, and her platform is the Nyle DiMarco Foundation.
Camden Swatts, a Family and Consumer Science and Dietetics major from Beauregard, Alabama, is sponsored by Alpha Omicron Pi, and her platform is Healthy Food Healthy You.
Briana Caudle, a Psychology and Criminal Justice major from Huntsville, Alabama, is sponsored by JSU Track and Field, and her platform is 2 Dance 2 Dream.
Ann-Katherine Dothard, a Nursing major from White Plains, Alabama, is sponsored by Gamecock Orientation, and her platform is the Boys and Girls Club.
Dayleigh Dorsett, a Nursing major from Sardis City, Alabama, is sponsored by Phi Mu, and her platform is Amazon Hope Ministry.
The Top seven candidates for JSU’s 2018 Homecoming King are:
Kuvvat Jorayev, a Computer Information Systems major from Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, is sponsored by Gamecock Orientation, and his platform is Ronald McDonald House.
Jack Gehrde, a Political Science major from Huntsville, Alabama, is sponsored by Gamecock Orientation, and his platform is Mission 22.
Jakobe Perry, a Political Science and English major from Birmingham, Alabama, is sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha, and his platform is Free School Supplies for Public Schools.
Cody Hooks, a Secondary Education major from Hoover, Alabama, is sponsored by JSU Ambassadors, and his platform is American Cancer Society.
Stone Alexander, a Pre-Health Biology major from Centre, Alabama, is sponsored by Pi Kappa Phi, and his platform is Suicide Prevention and Awareness.
Eric Cline, a Biology major from Jacksonville, Alabama, is sponsored by JSU Wesley Foundation, and his platform is the World Wildlife Fund.
Antonio Dix, a Pre-Health and Emergency Management major from Newnan, Georgia, is running as an Independent, and his platform is Alzheimer’s Association.
Now that the showcase is over, candidates shift to campaigning for votes for the upcoming elections.
The Homecoming Court will be crowned Saturday, September 29, on Homecoming day.
It may have literally rained on their parade, but the weather didn’t dampen the spirits of JSU’s 2017 Homecoming King and Queen, Paris Coleman and Shea O’Donnell. The pair qualified for candidacy at the annual Homecoming Showcase on October 11. After voting on October 24, Coleman and O’Donnell learned that they had made the top five, and they were crowned at the homecoming pep rally on October 26. The King, Queen and their court were honored during halftime at the JSU vs. SEMO football game on Saturday, October 28.
A recent addition to JSU’s Homecoming Court requirements is that each candidate must choose a philanthropy and that the King and Queen must conduct one or more events benefitting those two groups during their reign.
Coleman’s philanthropy is Active Minds, a national non-profit mental health advocacy group.
“I chose Active Minds because I know that, through the teachings and plethora of information, this organization is able to not only change lives but to save them,” Coleman, a senior psychology major, said. “I’ve seen it happen firsthand. I helped a student through suicidal thoughts and actually stopped them from completing suicide. If I had not learned so much from my time with Active Minds, I don’t believe I could confidently say I would have been able to save them.”
Coleman hopes to raise money for Active Minds’ Send Silence Packing program, where backpacks containing the names, pictures and stories of people who have committed suicide are put on display in a public place. The goal is help visitors put faces and experiences together to combat the stigma behind depression and suicide.
O’Donnell’s philanthropy is music education in elementary schools. As an elementary education major and a Marching Ballerina, the philanthropy unites her two passions.
“I know that Homecoming elections used to be just a popularity contest, but now with the philanthropy portion added in, it has become much more than that,” O’Donnell, a sophomore, said. “Now we have an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. I chose my philanthropy because I was personally affected by it. As a Jacksonville native, I attended the local elementary school, Kitty Stone Elementary. I grew up with a mom who played piano, and began taking lessons in the third grade. I joined Kitty Stone Singers—the choir—in the fourth grade, and then joined band in sixth grade. I grew up in a family that was blessed enough to be able to allow me to join these musical groups and to grow in music. However, I know some families are not as fortunate as mine. Therefore, with my service project, all the proceeds raised would go back to the Kitty Stone music program to help buy instruments for students that might not have been able to have otherwise.”
One of O’Donnell’s plans for a fundraiser includes hosting a concert that brings back Kitty Stone alumni to show the community where how far music education can take a student.
For both Coleman and O’Donnell, the philanthropic element of their titles has been more important than the crown.
“I felt so ecstatic when I heard my name being called over the speaker in the Burgess-Snow Stadium,” Coleman said. “I felt so relieved that my message of a better community experience, and hard work paid off. My favorite part of the Homecoming experience was the ‘hope’ that came with the title. Students that I had never even met before came up to me stating that they supported who I was and what I stood for. They said that they were really happy that I could be a representative for them on this campus. They hoped that I could start a movement of mental health awareness and really bring light to the stigma that no one really wants to talk about. I’m just glad that I could be that hope for someone until they can be that hope for themselves.”
“I think that overall, my absolute favorite part of Homecoming was meeting everyone,” O’Donnell added. “I am a people person, and I love getting to meet new people. Through the showcase and all of the campaigning, I have gotten the wonderful opportunity of meeting some of the most incredible people at JSU. Along with these people, I have heard their hearts about their philanthropies, and seen them work to promote awareness about something much bigger than they are.”
The other members of the 2017 Homecoming Court who were recognized at the homecoming game are DeLena Harris, Jalia Wilkins, Carlee Waits, Leah Strain, Patrick Hubbard, Cory Deerman, Skylar Fontaine and Kyle Burt.
The Student Government Association at Jacksonville State University hosted its 4th annual Harvest Festival on Tuesday, October 24 on the quad of JSU. Campus organizations set up tables and games while families and children trick-or-treated.
“The Harvest Festival is an annual event for the Jacksonville community to participate in our homecoming activities,” said Kasey Gamble, Vice President of SGA. “It’s also a great way for our organizations to get their names out there.”
Organizations such as the American Chemical Society, Delta Sigma Theta, Circle K, Alpha Omicron Pi and more could be seen giving children candy and playing games with them.
Each organization had a theme for its table, and the activity typically corresponded to the theme. Phi Mu, a sorority on campus, played a game called “Jailbreak,” where children hit human-shaped prisoners with pieces of candy attached to a lanyard.
Tri Beta, the biology honor society, taught children about different types of fish by encouraging them to capture paper-shaped fish of different colors with fishing hooks out of a mini-pool. When the child reeled a fish in, members of Tri Beta would then tell them about it based on a color-coded system created by the organization.
Circle K, a national community service organization, taught children about water sanitation as well as the water-crisis in Africa.
Children from the local Crazy About Dance studio performed numerous routines during the Harvest Festival to the entertainment of the crowd.
Gamble encourages any student that is interested to become a part of SGA.
“If anyone would like to get involved, I would tell them that it is super easy to do so,” Gamble said. “Anyone can join the Student Activities Council, which is a volunteer board that helps me run the events that I plan.”
Students are also able to run for Student Senate, a position in which students edit bylaws of the campus Constitution to better circumstances for students on campus.
Gamble believes that SGA is an important organization to have on campus.
“The SGA’s first priority is to serve the students. We do this by advocating for them in faculty committees, discussing matters like tuition and fees, the new Student Fitness and Wellness Center, and the selection of new employees,” said Gamble. “We also plan activities for students, help other organizations publicize their events, grant allocations for organizations, and any other task that is asked of us.”
Gamble is excited for other planned events hosted by the SGA.
“We have a ton of events coming up! Homecoming week alone, we have the Harvest Festival on Tuesday, a volleyball game spirit night on Wednesday, J-Day on Thursday, and Bongoball Mania on Friday,” said Gamble. “We have a Native American History Month Celebration at the beginning of November, and we are having a Hollywood Style Gameshow at the end of November.”
SGA will also be hosting Midnight Breakfast, an event that takes place during the week of final exams in which students are invited to eat a late-night breakfast in Hopper Dining Hall.
“I am currently finalizing all events for the spring, and we have a lot of exciting things coming up,” said Gamble.
A full list of Homecoming activities can be found on the JSU website or on the SGA’s Instagram account, @jsu_sga.