FMU celebrates Homecoming

Crowning continues despite COVID-19


Photo by: Elodi Breg

Malachi Dawson and Kei’yona Jordon were crowned Homecoming King and Queen during the coronation at the pep rally.

After a heartbreaking cancellation of Homecoming due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, FMU continued the coronation tradition of Homecoming King and Queen at a small, socially distanced pep rally at 5 p.m. on Feb. 26 in the Smith University Center (UC).

“The idea came from Student Life,” said Tymoshio “Ty” Robinson, student body president. “After the festivities were cancelled, they still wanted to go with one tradition—crowning the Homecoming court. The pep rally was their solution.”

Usually, FMU hosts a variety of events for Homecoming. Bonfires, food trucks, tailgates at the basketball games and much more inundate campus during Homecoming weekend. However, FMU President Fred Carter was forced to make the difficult, but safer decision to cancel Homecoming this year.

The pandemic is an ongoing fight for the health of the FMU student body and staff, so there was a necessity for increased safety measures. By limiting Homecoming to a pep rally in the UC, students could be monitored and social distancing guidelines could be enforced. During halftime at the men’s basketball game at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 27, the crowned King and Queen were presented again.

The event featured appearances from the former Homecoming King and Queen and performances by two dance teams on campus. The nominees for Homecoming Court were presented at the end.

All of the nominees received immense support, but the crowns were presented to Malachi Dawson, a junior mathematics major, and Kei’yona Jordon, a senior mass communications major.

Hayli Keith, one of the nominees for Homecoming Queen, thoroughly enjoyed her experience despite the restrictions and loss this year.

“I hated that this year we didn’t get to do as much with it, such as the Homecoming bonfire and walking out during the basketball games, but the adjustments were understandable,” Keith said. “I am hopeful that next year’s candidates will get the full experience.”

Keith is well-versed in the art of Homecoming, as she has run for the Homecoming Court for the past three years. As a senior member of the Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) sorority, she enjoys the event as a way to represent her sisters and be a part of a community with them.

“Running for Homecoming is an excuse to dress nicely and [it] challenges me to come out of my comfort zone,” Keith said. “Overall, I’ve had great Homecoming experiences, hence why I’ve run three times now. My sorority, ZTA, helped me campaign for Homecoming via flyers and social media posts. My whole family line attended the pep rally to show support, and each one of them means the world to me.”

Aleah Smalls, a junior psychology major, attended the event to participate in Homecoming even though it had been constrained due to the pandemic.

“Overall, I loved the event; every person who participated did an amazing job,” Smalls said. “Of course, everyone wants to enjoy Homecoming, and even though it was different this year, I felt like I still enjoyed what the school has done as far as events go. With the pep rally being limited to a certain number of people, I thought it was still enjoyable and entertaining.”