Finalizing the annual Yell Like Hell celebration, Gorilla royalty attendants filed onto the Carnie Smith Football Field for the 2018 crowning. The 2018 crowned royalty were Parker Welborn, king representing Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Desirae Hunt, queen representing Alpha Sigma Alpha.
Attendants represented varying student organizations from Greek Life to SGA to dance club and more. The 2017 homecoming king and queen presented this year’s crown to the new king and queen. Hunt and Welborn are both double majors in management and marketing. Welborn is additionally seeking a leadership studies minor.
“It’s honestly such an honor, I wasn’t expecting it and so just to be able represent the university in this high level,” Hunt said. “I don’t know I’m just really happy, honestly.”
This is Welborn’s second year in a row nominated for homecoming royalty.
“It honestly feels really good,” Welborn said. “Coming here to Pitt State, I mean it’s been kind of one of my dreams. I was nominated last year and didn’t get it, and then nominated this year and luckily we pulled through and people voted for me, so I’m very happy.”
For both the king and queen, this crowning holds different meaning.
“It means… community, really, because Pittsburg is community,” Hunt said. “And so being able to be part of something bigger than yourself and just being able to represent is the biggest honor that I’ve ever had. So just being here right now is just great.”
Hunt said she was honored to take the place of last year’s queen, who also represented Alpha Sigma Alpha.
“It felt like I could represent my organization well and I was being able to do my part and represent the women, values and whatnot, and so it was just great,” she said.
Welborn used this opportunity as means to push him further in his educational studies and extracurricular involvement.
“Honestly, I just think it’s just a huge honor,” Welborn said. “Ever since not winning last year… it really helped me motivate to get more involved into get things completed and kind of work together with other people on campus with all the organizations I’m in. So it’s been really great.”
Jessica Hennessy, 2017 homecoming queen and graduate in nursing, was excited to hand her crown off to the new queen.
“It was awesome,” Hennessy said. “It was so incredible because this girl that got queen she was in the organization that nominated me last year, so I was secretly just so excited because it’s not only my organization but I’ve known her for a long time and so it was like a little sister thing almost, so it was really cool. I’m really honored to be able to pass it on.”
Hennessy graduated in May 2018 and now works in Kansas City. She visited town for the crowning and described returning to PSU as “nostalgic.” Hennessy said she remembers the feeling of becoming homecoming royalty.
“I was feeling super anxious and also very honored at the same time just to have the experience that I had, like even before I made it; just to be able to be top 24 and then top 12 and then get it was just like mind-blowing, you know,” she said. “It’s like living in a dream, so it’s kind of how it felt this year, too, being able to pass it on.”
Prior to the royalty crowning, the nominees participated in various events throughout homecoming week, representing their student organizations.
“So we had to participate in the Kickoff Night and also the Gorilla Games on Tuesday … and then today was Yell Like Hell, so kind of small participation but the Kickoff Night was really awesome to kind of show off us and show off the homecoming committee,” Welborn said.
Following the crowning, Welborn and Hunt will participate in numerous activities as king and queen representing the university. The two began as a public pair at the homecoming parade and football game Saturday, Oct. 20. The king and queen will make appearances at many upcoming university and community events.
“So, I know they get to ride in the parade on Saturday morning, then they get to have lunch at the President’s—which is a super cool experience because you get to meet a lot of alumni and donors and stuff like that, and your parents get to come and it’s super fun—then you get to sit in the skybox and then you get announced at halftime (of the homecoming football game),” Hennessy said. “I think you get to do a bunch of announcements like for Airband maybe and Apple Day… and then you just get the title, it was super cool!”