The Student Activities Council (SAC) sponsored the annual Homecoming Pageant on Wednesday, Sept. 16. The pageant is the first of many events planned by SAC for the University of West Georgia’s (UWG) 68th annual homecoming festivities.
Six Appeal, a six-member a cappella group from Minneapolis, MN, performed at the last two homecoming pageants and opened this year’s pageant with their rendition of “Circle of Life.” The members of Six Appeal include Andrew “Burko” Berkowitz as the vocal percussionist, Michael Brookens as mid-tenor, Nathan Hickey as baritone, Reuben Hushagen as bass, Trey Jones as low tenor and Jordan Roll as high tenor. Their set incorporated both classic songs, such as “500 Miles” from the Proclaimers, as well as newer hits, and generated plenty of applause and shouts of encouragement from the audience.
“It’s a huge crowd, everybody’s totally amped up, and it’s a lot of fun to perform for a crowd that’s so pumped for homecoming,” said Roll, Six Appeal’s General Manager.
The sextet came together in 2006 as an act in a freshman talent show, and after turning professional in 2010 they have seen a great amount of success. They currently tour the United States visiting primarily colleges and other educational facilities.
“We especially love coming down South,” said Berkowitz. “Everyone talks a little differently and apparently we talk differently, plus everyone is so kind and polite.”
Berkowitz served as the emcee for the event along with Brookens, and the two brought comedy and also a little beat boxing to their roles. After Berkowitz and Brookens introduced the judges, the homecoming candidates took the stage and introduced themselves along with stating the organization they are representing.
Based on a combination of online voting and interviews conducted the week prior, the top ten candidates were selected from both the men and women. The judges then posed questions to each of the remaining candidates, with possibilities ranging from, “Who is your favorite professor at UWG?”; “If you could ask Dr. Marrero one question, what would it be and why?”; and a crowd favorite, “Who is someone you admire and why?”
“Someone I admire is probably my mother,” said Brett Sauls, making most of the women in the audience swoon. “I grew up without a father, and my mom basically played the role of both parents. She is a hard-worker and really is the driving force behind everything I do.”
Once the candidates had answered their question, the judges left to deliberate. They returned after a respectable time for discussion to announce the top five men and top five women as the 2015 Homecoming Court, and these individuals will continue in the race for Homecoming King and Queen. For Queen, the candidates remaining (and the organizations they represent) are Annie Broome (Interfraternity Council), Sarah Clanton (Alpha Xi Delta Sorority), Ashley Marinello (Chi Omega Sorority), Ivy Pope (Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority) and Taylor Swinney (Sigma Kappa Sorority). The gentlemen still in the running for King include Taylor Finleyson (Phi Mu Sorority), Brandon Reece (Alpha Xi Delta Sorority), Brett Sauls (Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority), Randall Jordan Striblin (Student Government Association) and Danny Tressler (Chi Omega Sorority).
“I’m so honored to be selected onto Homecoming Court,” said Swinney following the conclusion of the pageant. “It’s a blessing to have even been nominated to represent my organization and to represent my school.”
Swinney is in her senior year pursuing her degree in Sociology. On campus, Swinney involved herself through leadership positions in Sigma Kappa Sorority, as well as serving as an Orientation Leader this past summer.
“I’ll probably cry if I win Queen, honestly,” Swinney admitted. “It’d be such a great opportunity to represent this university and [the role] opens the doors to other opportunities like philanthropic endeavors and getting non-Greek organizations more involved in campus life.”
Striblin is a marketing major in his senior year and was elected Vice President of SGA in the spring of 2015. Striblin served as a senator and Parliamentarian during the 2014-2015 Senate and is also a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity. With so much past experience in leadership positions, the idea of stage fright never even crossed Striblin’s mind.
“A lot of people were nervous about being on stage, but I love it, I love the atmosphere,” said Striblin. “I am thrilled right now, and I’d be thrilled as well to be voted as King.”
Homecoming King and Queen will be announced this Saturday, Sept. 26, during halftime at the homecoming game against the Clark Atlanta University Panthers.