By Jenny Schouppe
News Report Staff
During halftime, under the Friday night lights of Effingham High School’s Homecoming game on September 30, royalty was crowned.
Seniors Alexandria “Alex” Denoyer and Antonio Munoz were crowned 2016 Homecoming Queen and King.
The crowd cheered and cameras flashed as the 2015 Homecoming Queen Shayna Phillips placed the silver crown upon Alex’s head.
“I was shocked. I definitely was not expecting to hear my name,” she admitted.
Alex and Antonio, their court, and the rest of the EHS Hearts then spent the rest of the evening watching their fellow peers battle it out on the football field against Taylorville. Once the game was over, EHS geared up for a fun Homecoming dance the following evening.
For Alexandria, winning Homecoming Queen was an “honor.” But what made it extra special was having her family there cheering for her every step of the way -- specifically her grandmother, Marcella Carpenter.
Marcella stood in the bleachers on that Friday night watching her granddaughter be crowned Homecoming Queen, an experience that Marcella herself had experienced a half a century earlier.
In 1966 -- exactly 50 years ago -- Marcella was crowned EHS Homecoming Queen.
“It was great seeing her out there getting crowned,” said Marcella. “It was great to just see her out there, but even greater to see her win. We were all just so excited for her. We sat on the fourth row of bleachers from the top and just cheered for her. We almost couldn’t hear her name being called because we were all so loud.”
Voting for 2016 Homecoming Queen and King began a few weeks ago when freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior candidates were voted for to be a part of the Homecoming Court. The week leading up to Homecoming, peers then voted among the three senior candidates, and the ones with the most votes would be Homecoming Queen and King.
“It’s an honor and I appreciate it,” said Alexandria. “I go to a school where everyone knows everyone so it’s an honor to be chosen by peers.”
The process was a bit different when Marcella was in high school. In 1966, EHS only had a Homecoming Queen -- no King -- so the voting consisted of peers voting for girls who would be chosen for the ballot. Those selected girls were then voted on and the winner of the most votes won the title of Homecoming Queen.
Alex originally found out about her grandmother being a Homecoming Queen when she saw her grandmother’s photo in the “Looking Back” section in the newspaper. The two had a short conversation about Marcella’s experience, but according to Alex, she was not thinking of the family connection when heading out onto the field that night.
“I knew she had won and we had a conversation about it. But it wasn’t brought to my attention until afterwards,” said Alex.
“To her, 50 years ago sounds like a long time,” Marcella said with a laugh. “But to me, 50 years ago wasn’t that long ago and I remember that evening very well. It goes by quick and it speeds up every year.”
Marcella enjoyed her high school years just like her granddaughter does now.
Marcella participated in Pep Club and Latin Club, while Alex has enjoyed her high school years participating in marching band.
Alex plans to move on to attend a college. She admits that she hasn’t figured out her future plans, but says it’s a work in progress.
According to Marcella, no matter what Alex plans to do after high school, she will always be “the queen of her grandma’s heart.”