First Person Experience: Nominee shares the Homecoming experience

Only 10 seniors a year get to experience the limelight of the University of La Verne’s Homecoming Court, and I was surprised to find out I was one of them.

I was notified several weeks ago that I received a nomination from the College Panhellenic Association, an organization comprised of representatives from each sorority on campus. I was shocked, no, I did not dance or jump around, but I was excited to have this chance.

I thought that if I was nominated it would be from my fraternity, Phi Delta Theta. But CPA surprised me with a nomination, which would eventually lead me to a spot in the top five senior men on court.

From there it was my job to fill out the paperwork so I could be cleared to be on Homecoming Court. Each nominee has to be an outstanding leader, have a GPA above 2.5 and be actively involved in campus organizations.

Other nominees responded positively as well.

“I felt honored to be chosen to represent the senior class,” Liz Canales, a senior behavioral studies major said. “I was nervous, but it made me happy to know that people appreciate my contributions to the University.”

Canales along with myself, Jesse Rodriguez, Gabby de La Cruz, Mario Rodriguez, Thomas Allison, Virginia Ng, Kevin Schatz, Mercy-Faith Kimbwala and Erica Holmes were the 2006 ULV Homecoming Court nominees.

“When Christa gave me the news, I tried not to act too excited even though I really was,” Jesse Rodriguez a senior business major said. “I didn’t know that many people knew who I was.”

The week was kicked off with Illuminations.

This French–themed event was held at 10 p.m. Monday night in front of Founders Hall, during which the Homecoming Court was announced to the University. The nominees are paired into couples.

We met the week before the event to fill out an autobiography, which was announced by Shane Rodrigues, radio-TV operations manager.

This was my favorite part of the week besides being on the field during halftime of the football game on Saturday. All of the nominees were dressed up and it was the first time we got to wear our Homecoming sashes. The court and I waited in the chapel until we were picked up by Chip West, assistant dean of student affairs and director of student life, and Barbara Mulligan, associate director of student life, in decorated golf carts. The first couple, Jesse Rodriguez and De La Cruz, left right before Ng and I did.

As we approached the archway to be announced to the ULV community there was a slight technical problem that set us back a few minutes. This just made the anxiety a little more intense.

After the problems were fixed all 10 of the nominees were announced. Each nominee was met with loud cheers from their sorority sisters, fraternity brothers, friends and family members.

On Oct. 11 during an outdoor lunch in the quad students rode a mechanical bull, kissed the court and hit a piñata.

Kiss the Court was my favorite event of the day. The Campus Activities Board gave all of the court white T-shirts to wear for this event. Of course, when I got to the event I realized I left mine in my car. But I was able to participate wearing the blue shirt that students received after voting for Homecoming king and queen.

We were given about five minutes to run around with our own lipstick and hand it off to anyone who was willing to put it on and kiss our shirts.

As the timer started we took off running around the lunch tables. When I ran up to Christina Estrada my lipstick broke. I recovered since the stick only broke halfway off and there was still enough to use.

As I was running around the tables I saw our editor in chief Nicole Knight and asked if she would kiss my shirt. She said yes as long as she was able to use her own lipstick. Many girls decided to use their own instead of putting on lipstick that a lot of other people had used.

“My favorite event was kiss the court,” Jesse Rodriguez said. “It gave me the excuse to go up to girls and ask them for a kiss.”

People even ran up to guys at the lunch tables, and they were good sports and put the lipstick on and kissed the shirts. As the game ended I came out with 19 kisses on my shirt. The winners were Jesse Rodriguez and De La Cruz with 30 kisses.

On Oct. 12 there was an indoor soccer tournament. I was unable to attend.

As members of the Homecoming court we were invited to the ULV alumni dinner held on Friday at the Sheraton Hotel at the Fairplex.

The dinner was to honor ULV alumni as well as distinguished faculty and students.

The next day at the football game we had to meet right before halftime. This was the most nerve-wracking part of the week. We all met again dressed in formal attire and sashes.

Everyone was on edge.

Before going out on the field all of us were talking, and several of us agreed that no matter who won, we were all just happy to be a part of the top 10 in the senior class.

We walked out on the field and again had our bios read and names announced. Of course, we were met with loud cheers.

“Being on the field was a different experience, it was really exciting walking down the 50-yard line hearing my name and having a loud roar of cheers follow it,” Jesse Rodriguez said.

We all had a box in front of us; the two people with a balloon in the box were crowned Homecoming king and queen.

We kept joking that we would wait to open the box, but as the drum roll started we all reached down and opened the box.

I was not too disappointed when I discovered my box was empty.I kept saying that I just wanted to be on the court.

De La Cruz and Schatz were crowned king and queen. Both were surprised and in awe when they realized they had a balloon in their box.

It was great to finally have all the events over. There was not too much pressure. But we did have to be in front of people a lot during last week.

As cliché as it may sound, it really was just an honor to be nominated.

Rick Montañez can be reached at

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Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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