What’s it like to run for HoCo Court?

Trail staffer and freshman Grace Lovejoy details her journey from running to crowning

I’m Grace Lovejoy,  and this year I ran for homecoming court.

Before school started, I was probably the biggest introvert ever. I had friends, but I was scared to reach out and make plans. I always felt like people didn’t like me that much. That completely changed after the first month of my freshman year of high school.

Since I started high school, I’ve tried to be involved in as many activities as I can. I am a part of the One-Act Play written by the drama teacher, Ken Buswell. I am also a student journalist for McIntosh Trail Student Newspaper, all while running my campaign for freshman Homecoming court.

Through COVID-19, I stayed virtual because I got so used to being alone.

— Grace Lovejoy

Not too long ago, I was going through a tough period of time for myself. I thought my peers disliked me because I wasn’t asked to hang with them on anything they were doing. Later on, I realized I could’ve reached out rather than waiting for others to ask me to be included. Through COVID-19, I stayed virtual because I got so used to being alone. Being virtual is almost like a way to get out of talking to people. I was so afraid of making relationships because I was insecure about myself, and when the opportunity to get nominated for Homecoming opened, I was getting out of a difficult relationship. I was looking for a way to better myself and be more confident. Maybe this experience would be it.

The first thing I did for my campaign was to make posters on Canva and hang them around the school. I told my friends about my campaign and counted their votes too. There were a lot of things to get done in such a small amount of time. I found out I was in the top three very late, and I was not expecting to be in the top three.

The week of homecoming might have been one of the busiest weeks I’ve ever had. There was a lot to get done, including buying a dress to walk on the football field, buying shoes, buying candy for the parade, and renting a car there was a lot. All while balancing journalism and rehearsals for the one-act.

On Wednesday, Oct. 12, at the end of the school day, we had the pep rally. Everyone was there, and I was super, super nervous. I walked with Tanish Gupta, Kamara Smith walked with Brandan Ridley, and Ellie Bederowski walked with Mamadou Bebe. This was also the first pep rally we’ve had since 2019. All of the homecoming court nominees from each grade walked down the gym floor. Everyone was cheering for us, and it was such a beautiful moment. Everyone was nervous at first, but once we went out on the floor, we were just fine.

Homecoming court has taught me that the people who love you will be there for you, and if you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything. You don’t need someone to be successful; that’s all on you.

— Grace Lovejoy

“Even though the pep rally was scary, walking out, the whole freshman court was awesome,” Ridley said about his experience.

Thursday, Oct. 13, was the parade, and I was in charge of the candy to throw out. Gupta got the convertible for us to ride in. After school, the freshman Homecoming court met outside the gym and got ready to go to our cars. Ridley couldn’t sit on top of the convertible with us because he had just had surgery on his knee.

“The parade was fun because I got to throw candy,” Ridley said.

We rationed candy because there were a lot of kids! We had all types of candy too, including Airheads, mints, lollipops, and candy bracelets. We got to wave to everyone, and our names and class year were put on the car. The parade went so well, and my parents and grandparents were there to cheer me on. Other freshman families came out to support them too. It was so amazing to see the parents cheer their kids on.

The new Lord and Lady were going to be announced at the football game on Friday, Oct. 14. The announcement made me nervous, but I was cheering for the two girls I was running with. I was running against Kamara Smith and Ellie Benderowski. Both girls put so much effort into their outfits and their campaign.

“I was pretty excited because I’d never done it before and all my friends have,” Smith said.

That day I also had rehearsals, so my friend Ava Thompson did my hair, and she did an amazing job. Then (Trail Editor-in-Chief) Rebekah Bushmire and I, who was also running for homecoming court as a junior, ran to the cafeteria for pictures. The whole court walked to the football field, and we all walked around and got something to eat because we didn’t go on until halftime. I ate nachos and hotdogs, and it was amazing.

Benderowski and I have been friends since we were babies, so we are comfortable with each other.

“I was really surprised that I made the court because I just did it for fun,” she told me.

But when I got to the court, I wanted to win. While waiting for halftime, I got to meet some amazing court members. Ellie Shelton (10) and I saw my old friend whois a senior, Jaden Kypri. Then, I and my walking buddy Gupta walked down the field as the color guard waved flags.

“I wasn’t shocked that I made it. It was just fun. It wasn’t like any other thing,” Gupta said.

As I watched everyone walk down, I heard the seniors’ quotes play over the speaker, and they made me think about what I want to achieve in high school. When everyone finished walking down, they announced the arrival of freshman Lord Mamadou Boube.

“It made me feel good; it was fun and brought a lot of excitement back to life,” Bebe said. He did such a great job of campaigning and he deserved to win.

Remind yourself how special you are.

— Grace Lovejoy

Then it was time.

I won and I was so happy. I had so much support from my friends and family. My best friends, freshman Swara Bramadevi and junior Jackie Aleman came to support me, and it was so sweet. I got a crown, sash, and scepter, and I felt so special. I worked so hard for this moment, but in the end, it was so worth it. I’m so grateful to everyone who voted for me and my amazing family, who never doubted me.

I owe all of this to my best friend, Swara Bramadevi. She signed me up because she believed in me.

Homecoming court has taught me that the people who love you will be there for you, and if you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything. You don’t need someone to be successful; that’s all on you. I encourage all freshmen to put their names out there. Advertise yourself in every way possible; don’t bribe your classmates with candy or money, because that is unrealistic. They are voting for it because they get something out of it. Make posters, share them on social media, and encourage your friends to vote.

Remind yourself how special you are.

This experience was incredible and I can’t wait to see what else high school has in store for me.