Twenty nominees. Six feet apart. Two winners. Martin’s 2020 Homecoming was nothing like the rest.
The 2020 Martin Homecoming King is National Honor Society representative, Anthony Washington.
“Being King is really cool,” Washington said. “It’s nice to see that the student body thinks highly of me enough to vote for me.”
Just the idea of running for homecoming court can often make people nervous.
“A few of my friends told me to run so I thought it would be fun,” Washington said.
But with fun comes hard work, this year’s Homecoming court didn’t have the same campaigning luxuries as usual.
“In years past, we would have posters and everything, but this year was solely social media,” Washington said.
After all of the campaigning Washington said he was feeling a little nervous before they announced the results.
“It could’ve been anyone on that field,” Washington said. “When they announced that it was me, I was really relieved.”
During these unprecedented times, the Homecoming Queen and Martin Warriors Women’s Basketball representative, Autumn Smith, said it was nice to have such a diverse Homecoming court.
“I am proud to see two people of color being voted and chosen King and Queen during this tricky climate in our nation,” Washington said.
With the civil rights uprising, and constant social inequality in our world, many people of color felt a sense of pride when the Homecoming Queen was first announced.
“I feel honored, it was such a surprise,” senior Autumn Smith said. “I was genuinely excited and thankful that people took the time to vote for me. I also love the fact that me and Anthony both won knowing we’ve grown up together.”
ust running for Homecoming court is a memory these seniors said they will treasure forever.
“It’s my senior year and I thought it would be fun to run for something that was different from what I normally participate in,” Smith said. “I thought it would be a great experience and memory to have for when I’m older.”
Though being on the Homecoming court is fun, the challenge of not being able to have any physical interactions was hard on Smith.
“We weren’t able to put up posters around the school for new people to see our faces, but instead just had to hope they would see it off social media,” Smith said. “I’m a very social and welcoming person, and it was sad that I didn’t get to create any new bonds with people I’ve never met before.”
With many precautions needed to be taken for Covid, some traditions had to be cut out completely.
“I wish we could’ve hugged our family members, or walked out with a partner to assist us,” Smith said. “Everything this year was super spaced out due to Covid. It’s sad that we didn’t get to have any pep rallies to celebrate all of us together.”
The feeling of sadness was soon overcome by joy when they announced Smith’s name.
“I was super nervous and kept telling myself, ‘I got this,’” she said. “For a moment I closed my eyes just to envision myself winning, and a split second after I did that, they announced my name. I jumped up and all my nerves were gone. I was genuinely excited that I won and you could definitely tell.”
This year’s Homecoming court will definitely be the one that none of us forget.
“It means a lot that people took the time to vote for me and see something in me that caused them to do so, for that I’m super thankful and grateful,” Smith said. “This will always be an amazing memory to tell my friends and family in the future.”
Just being voted onto the court is already an accomplishment alone. A few nominees even got to take away some meaningful memories.
Senior Nathan Truong represented Key Club.
“I hoped to make some fun, happy memories through being on Hoco court,” Truong said. “Going through the process of campaigns, the rehearsals, and the game itself with my fellow nominees is something I’ll have with me for the rest of my life. I also looked forward to the camaraderie. Granted, I was already friends with most of the court. But any time I am with friends or have a chance to meet awesome new people is a great experience for me.”
Senior Rian MacBride represented Martin Student News.
“I hoped to get closer to people and to represent my school in a positive manner with my peers, and I think I accomplished that,” MacBride said. “I was able to be a part of something really cool and really fun!”
Senior Reese Karo represented Psychology Club.
“I hoped to add another good memory to my life because this was a big moment,” Karo said. “With everything going on in the nation, with the virus, it was good to see everyone, and see something that made it feel more normal.”
Senior Allison Nguyen represented National Honor Society.
“I was really just hoping to have an amazing time and make the best of senior year despite how much the covid pandemic discouraged many of us,” Nguyen said.
Senior Brandon Parker represented Martin Players.
“I was solely in it for the friendships that we were able to make on the court,” Parker said. “Even with little interaction we still got together very well and had a blast the entire time.”
Senior Nicole Dao represented Ping Pong Club.
“From being on the Hocomcoming court, I hoped to make one last memorable high school experience despite Covid and everything going on,” Dao said. “I was able to represent and show my love for my school alongside many other amazing students.”
Many of these nominees had only hoped to take away friendships and experiences, and many did.
Senior Megan Toper represented Martin Choir,
“I hoped to have a good time and make the most of my weird senior year,” Toper said. “I was so honored that I made it to the court, and being able to walk on the field, even though there were restrictions, was such an amazing experience.”
Senior Emma Allen represented Martin Cheer.
“It was nice to be recognized by my peers and chosen to represent an ongoing tradition where alumni come back each year and remember the feeling of family that Martin Warrior FNL and school spirit creates,” Allen said.
Senior Brooke Betters represented Newspaper.
“I didn’t expect to gain anything from the experience at first, but I ended up having a lot of fun,” she said. “I met a lot of new people and kinda stepped out of my shell a little bit. I feel like it was a good experience to have, especially with Covid. It was just something fun that I could do this year, with it being my last year, something memorable.”
Senior Leighton Gammage represented Martin Student News.
“I hoped to help Martin gain some diversity on the Homecoming court,” Gammage said. “There are a lot of students at Martin, especially minorities, that sometimes get overlooked, and having a diverse Homecoming court would really help show what Martin really is.”
Senior Lauren Graves represented Martin Band.
“I was honored that I was able to be voted onto the court,” Graves said. “Throughout this experience, my hope was to make the Martin Band a part of the conversation, and being on the court, I was able to represent my second family.”
Before each life-lasting memory came a stressful beginning, Student Council Teacher Courtney Briggs said.
“The most challenging obstacle was that there just wasn’t a lot of student help around me this time around,” Briggs said. “Mrs. Fratto and Mr. Fratto are always there to help me when I really need something as far as assistance goes and so they really made up for that lack of having someone right next to me that could go run and do something for me real quick.”
Since the pandemic, Martin’s had to alter many things, including one of Briggs’ most meaningful traditions where the Hoco court gets thrown a luncheon that they can bring their families to.
“Last year we did that in the Highlands, and it’s kinda just held in a little reception room, and to me one of the best things that you can do with people is just be around a table with them and eat. There’s just something about having time to share that with each other,” Briggs said. “We all kinda talk and just let them have a moment to feel, not only just special, but to understand that they’re a part of something at Martin that believes in them.”
Since the year has already been so hectic, Briggs decided to put 20 nominees on the court for 2020, to spread the love to this year’s seniors.
“Homecoming still created pride in our school and it kinda helped us remember that this is still an important thing for any high school to have, and that some things just must go on,” Briggs said. “Even if it’s gonna look different or maybe feel different there was just no reason for us to completely try to eliminate it, we just had to improvise.”
Briggs said she felt that planning Homecoming was much harder for her those first three weeks of in person school, than in past years.
“It’s okay to have challenges and things, but a little adversity doesn’t necessarily have to make it a negative experience,” Briggs said. “It’s just something that we learn from and that we can look back at and say that we pulled off, and that’s a really cool thing.”