UWA students crown Elizabeth Jones of Tuscaloosa Homecoming Queen

The UWA 2017 Homecoming Court, pictured left to right, are sophomore maid Ma’Kiyah Hall of Reform, Ala.; LaPrease Sparks of Birmingham, Ala.; Chloe Paige of Hattiesburg, Miss.; UWA’s 2017 Homecoming Queen Elizabeth Jones of Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Lauren Sevenish of Tuscaloosa, Ala..; Quenterica White of Sawyerville, Ala.; and freshman maid Rian Crawford of Pell City, Ala.

LIVINGSTON, Ala.—During Homecoming festivities on Saturday, Oct. 28, the University of West Alabama announced its 2017 Homecoming Queen, Elizabeth Jones of Tuscaloosa. Jones and the Homecoming Queen’s court were nominated and elected by the UWA student body as the leading ladies of the week.

The queen, a closely guarded secret, was announced and crowned on the field during halftime festivities at the UWA vs. West Florida game on Saturday.

Homecoming Queen Elizabeth Jones is a senior from Tuscaloosa. A graduate of Hillcrest High School, Jones is majoring in elementary education. She is a member of the UWA cheerleading team and is vice president of Phi Mu Fraternity.

Jones serves as a UWA Orientation leader and vice president of the student ambassador leadership council. She is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Kappa Delta Pi, and Blue Key Honor Societies. She has served as a UWA CARES peer mentor and was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Jones is the daughter of Steven and Lisa Jones and the late Katharyn Jones. She was escorted on the field by her father.

Chloe Paige, a senior from Hattiesburg, Miss., and nursing major, is a member of the court. A graduate of Hattiesburg High School, Paige is a member of the Student Government Association and Student Nurses Association and also serves as treasurer of her nursing class.

Paige works as a student recreation attendant at Hughes Gym, UWA’s Rec Center.  She is a Trustee Scholar and a 2017 John Brown Scholar through the First Presbyterian Church of Livingston. She is the daughter of the late Arthur Ray Russell and Tamika Paige, and she was escorted on the field by her brother, Keirston Paige.

Lauren Sevenish, a senior from Tuscaloosa, is a member of the court. She is a graduate of Tuscaloosa County High school and is majoring in Integrated Marketing Communications with a focus in graphic design. Sevenish is a member of Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Chi, and Lambda Pi Eta. She serves as an Orientation leader and Ambassador for UWA’s Office of Admissions. She also serves as the public relations chair for the UWA Student Government Association.

Sevenish is president of Blue Key Honor Society, president of Cardinal Key Honor Society and president of the UWA Ambassador Leadership Council. She is the daughter of Rick Sevenish and Shell Ann Golden, and she was escorted on the field by her father.

LaPrease Sparks, a senior from Birmingham, is a member of the court. Sparks, a graduate of Ramsay High School, is majoring in elementary education. She is a member of Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Chi Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi, and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

Sparks is the acting Anti-Basileus and Epistoleus of Sigma Gama Rho Sorority, Inc. She serves as a resident assistant for UWA Housing in Gilbert Hall. She was recognized by Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. She is the daughter of laPerrian Sparks and Melvin Davis and was escorted on the field by her father.

Quenterica White, a senior from Sawyerville, is a member of the court. She is a graduate of Francis Marion High School and is majoring in elementary education. White has been a member of the UWA Scarlet Band for almost four years and has served as a member of Side Court Posse for one year.

White is a pledge of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. She has been named on the Dean’s List several times at UWA. She is in her second year serving as a UWA resident assistant for Hoover Apartments. She is the daughter of Randall and Malinda White and was escorted on the field by her father.

Ma’Kiyah Hall, a sophomore from Reform, is the court’s sophomore maid. Hall is a graduate of Pickens County High School. Ma’Kiyah is a member of UWA’s Scarlet Band as a Scarlet Guard. She is the daughter of Marlin and Jennifer Hall and was escorted on the field by her father.

Rian Crawford of Pell City is the court’s freshman maid. Crawford attended Pell City High School. She is a member of the UWA Cheerleading Team.  A criminal justice major, she is the daughter of Willard and La Tonya Crawford and was escorted on the field by her father.

Bell named DHS Homecoming Queen

10-07-16 -- Demopolis, Ala. -- Ja'Kayla Bell is crowned 2016 Homecoming Queen by last year's queen, Shoni Jones. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

10-07-16 — Demopolis, Ala. — Ja’Kayla Bell is crowned 2016 Homecoming Queen by last year’s queen, Shoni Jones. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

UWA names Homecoming Queen

UWA junior Adriana Stanton of Columbus, Miss., center, was crowned Homecoming Queen at the University of West Alabama Wednesday night during the school’s annual Serendipity talent show. The queen’s court includes, from left, junior Tierra Williams, senior Sydney Matthews, junior Jessica Smyth, Stanton, junior Paige Ip, sophomore maid Niya Crawford, and freshman maid Ashley Hardy. (Contributed Photo)

UWA junior Adriana Stanton of Columbus, Miss., center, was crowned Homecoming Queen at the University of West Alabama Wednesday night during the school’s annual Serendipity talent show. The queen’s court includes, from left, junior Tierra Williams, senior Sydney Matthews, junior Jessica Smyth, Stanton, junior Paige Ip, sophomore maid Niya Crawford, and freshman maid Ashley Hardy. (Contributed Photo)

LIVINGSTON, Ala. — Adriana Stanton, a junior from Columbus, Miss., was named Homecoming Queen at the University of West Alabama’s Serendipity Wednesday night. The court was presented at the annual talent show on campus, and the closely guarded announcement of the queen was before the student body, who cast ballots the previous week for freshman and sophomore maids, as well as five upperclassmen who vied for the crown.

Stanton is an exercise science major and a graduate of Columbus High School. She is a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta and Kappa Delta Pi honor societies and serves as

Adriana Stanton, a junior from Columbus, Miss., was named Homecoming Queen at the University of West Alabama’s Serendipity Wednesday night. (Contributed Photo)

Adriana Stanton, a junior from Columbus, Miss., was named Homecoming Queen at the University of West Alabama’s Serendipity Wednesday night. (Contributed Photo)

vice president of the Exercise Science Club. Stanton preciously served as freshman senator on UWA’s Student Government Association; she now holds the position as SGA junior senator. She serves as a Project Bloom Mentor, UWA Orientation Leader, and UWA Student Ambassador. She is the daughter of Amanda Barry Stanton and Kent Stanton.

Paige Ip, a junior from Meridian, Miss., is a member of the Homecoming court. Ip is pursuing a degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications. A Northeast Lauderdale High School graduate, Ip is a member of Beta Beta Beta, Blue Key, and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies and serves as vice president for UWA’s student government association. Ip served ad Miss UWA and Miss Paragon during 2014. She is the daughter of Kim and James Pearsell and Garrett Ip.

Sydney Matthews, a senior from Meridian, Miss., is a member of the Homecoming court. Matthews is a biology pre-medicine major. A graduate of Northeast Lauderdale High School, Matthews is a member of Beta Beta Beta, Blue Key, Phi Eta Sigma, Alpha Epsilon Delta, Order of Omega, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Eta Sigma academic honor societies. Matthews is president of Phi Mu Fraternity and Greek Council representative. She is the daughter of Dr. James and Machelle Matthews.

Jessica Smyth, a junior from Clayton, Ind., is a member of the Homecoming court. Smyth is a history major. A graduate of Cascade High School, Smyth is a member of the UWA Honors Program, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and UWA’s women’s golf. She serves as a resident assistant for UWA Housing in Gilbert Hall. Smyth was selected to the 2014 Gulf South Conference All Tournament Team, 2013-2104 All American Scholar by Women’s Golf Coaching Association, 2014-2015 Gulf South Conference Second Team, Gulf South Conference All Academic First Team, and more. She is the daughter of David and Dawn Smyth.

Tierra Williams, a junior from Fulton, Ala., is a member of the Homecoming court. Williams is majoring in nursing. A graduate of Clarke County High School, Williams serves as vice president of the Student Nurses Association, a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, and a J.L. Bedsole Scholar. She is the daughter of Sheddret Robinson and Gilbert Gildersleeve and Kenneth Robinson.

Ashley Hardy is the freshman maid. Hardy is a member of Student Support Services and the UWA Scarlet Band. The sociology major is a graduate of Hale County High School. A Greensboro, Ala., native, she is the daughter of Jimmie and Emma Hardy.

Niya Crawford represents the sophomore class. Crawford serves as finance assistant for Alpha Sigma Tau sorority. The Pell City, Ala., native is majoring elementary education and graduated from Pell City High School. She is the daughter of La Tonya and Willard Crawford.

The court will ride through downtown Livingston in the Homecoming parade Saturday, Oct. 17, at 10 a.m.Crowning of the queen and presentation of her court will take place during halftime of the UWA-Shorter football game at Tiger Stadium. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.

DHS alum named Shelton Homecoming Queen

1383608_10152064856985362_2104609772_n-1Demopolis High alum Yanna Johnson is the 2013 Homecoming Queen for Shelton State Community College.

“It really meant a lot to me. I am greatly appreciative of it,” Johnson, a member of the DHS Class of 2012 said of winning the distinction. “It’s a great honor knowing that I won Homecoming Queen. I prayed about it each day up until Tuesday night came because it was something I really wanted and I did what I had to do in order to win it along with a lot of support from others.”

Johnson was crowned Tuesday, Nov. 12.

“I never was on homecoming court in high school. That’s why It meant so much to me to win because It was something I never experienced before,” the Gallion native said.

The daughter of Al and Una Johnson and the granddaughter of Eddie and Elizabeth Ayers and Tommy McClain, Johnson fell in love with Shelton State when she took a campus tour during her senior year in high school.

1471825_691353807551174_160352603_n“The atmosphere and the people. When I first went to Shelton during my senior year for a tour the lady giving the tour made us feel so at home. I enjoyed being there and I started doing more research to find out more about the school and that’s when I found out about the Ambassador Scholarship and I applied for it, went through the interviews and became a Shelton State Ambassador,” Johnson said. “Being an Ambassador has really drawn me more closer with the other students and faculty and staff. It also has given me an opportunity to represent my school, which is one thing that I love to do. I love each and every moment at my school.

“Being an Ambassador I get to give tours and show off the school and what we have to offer. Being a student in Culinary Arts I enjoy learning about different foods and trying new things and also being a student in the Wellness Exercise program I have the opportunity to take workout classes to stay in shape and knock off some stress. So I enjoy every day at Shelton never a dull moment in my classes.”

1469910_10153521183365179_1357905698_nDuring her time at Shelton, Johnson has also earned the I.W. Mitchell Outstanding Technical Student Award and Normal C. Cephus Special Achievement Award.

“After I leave Shelton I plan on either continuing my education in Hospitality Management or going into the workforce working as a Chef,” Johnson said. “I really would like to come back to Shelton later on in life to be an instructor in Culinary Arts with the baking department.”

Hankins named UWA Homecoming Queen

Libby Hankins LIVINGSTON — Libby Hankins continued to defy expectations Wednesday night when she was announced as the 2013 Homecoming Queen for the University of West Alabama.

“I was shocked because I knew that I had a lot of friends at this school, but I thought that everybody up there was just amazing,” Hankins, a Gordo native, said in reference to her fellow members of the UWA Homecoming Court. “So when they called my name, it just gave me a rush because I thought people liked me enough to elect me as somebody that represents their school and that meant a lot to me.”

Hankins, a junior at UWA, boasts the obligatorily crowded resume that accompanies all Homecoming queens. She is a cheerleader. She’s in a sorority. She is a UWA Ambassador. And the list goes on. But, amid it all, Hankins continues to successfully battle Cystic fibrosis.

“I was diagnosed when I was two and I came to West Alabama and I was really nervous,” Hankins said of her 2011 decision to leave the comfort of her small town home and take the short drive south to a new life on campus in Livingston. “I was hoping that everyone would be accepting because when I was in high school everybody knew. It wasn’t something I had to walk up and say, ‘Hey, I’m the sick girl.’ Everybody knew. So when I got here, I was afraid people wouldn’t see me the same way.”

What Hankins found upon her arrival at UWA was a welcoming community of classmates and educators that have proven accommodating and encouraging.

“I was completely proved wrong. Everybody here has been absolutely wonderful,” Hankins said. “They bend over backwards to give me anything I need. Anytime I’m sick, they all come. They all check on me. Coming to UWA gave me the best support system I’ve ever had in my life.”

As she stood in Pruitt Hall Wednesday night just minutes after being named Homecoming Queen, Hankins reflected on her decision to attend UWA and thought about what advice she would give to high school students contemplating her path.

“I would tell them that it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life and if they would like to come here, they are more than welcome to find me and I can tell them thousands and thousands of good things,” Hankins said.

(Photos by Sidney Collins)

(Photos by Sidney Collins)

For those who know her best, Hankins’ crowning moment Wednesday was the latest highlight in a long line of incredible accomplishments.

“I cried. I was proud of her. She has worked hard,” Hankins’ mother, Susan Estes, said of the moment she heard her daughter’s name announced as Homecoming Queen. “I don’t know that they could have found anybody that loves this school any more than she does.”

Estes has watched her daughter undergo treatments and overcome trials for two decades as she has continued to defy her circumstances and dictate the terms of her own life.

“Libby just doesn’t quit. She decides what she’s going to do and she’s going to do it,” Estes said. “She was diagnosed when she was two and it’s been in and out of the hospital really all of her life, but she just always tells me that she’s not going to spend her whole life getting ready to die. She’s got a lot of living to do. She tells (her doctors) every time we go in, ‘You’ve got to get me out because I know I may not have as much time as everyone else, but I’ve got to pack it all in.’ And she does. She packs it all in.”

Hankins’ most recent visit to the hospital ended just two weeks ago after she spent approximately a month there fighting a respiratory infection.

“There’s no cure. There are some treatments. Just recently in the last couple of years, the life expectancy has been raised to 41,” Estes said of the condition her daughter continues to overcome. “When she was diagnosed, I was told 18 when she was diagnosed 20 years ago. So we’ve doubled that life expectancy.”

All told, she makes five to six hospital visits a year and spends about two weeks in treatment each time.

“It is very hard,” Hankins said of balancing the hospital visits with the normal demands of academic work, campus life and her bevy of extracurricular activities. “It becomes very tricky because I am in cheerleading and I’m in Phi Mu and I’m an ambassador. I like to balance all my things. But when I come back to school, everybody is always very welcoming and always does everything they can to help me get on track.”

As she continues to defy a condition she refuses to let define her, Hankins has allowed her welcoming smile and indomitable spirit to leave an undeniable impression on countless others.

“When I came here, I just wanted to be the same person that I had always been. I never wanted to change who I was,” Hankins said. “I always wanted to be the person that was nice to people and went out of their way. And I guess that being nice to people kind of rewarded me in a way.”

Chief among those people who are forever changed by Hankins’ unparalleled zest for life is the woman who has been by her side through two decades of treatments.

“She teaches me every day that nothing is impossible and life is precious and it is ridiculous to sit around and waste your time and not enjoy every possible thing you can,” Estes said of her daughter’s example. “And when I grow up, I want to be just like her.”

Parten is MA Homecoming Queen

(Photo courtesy Raycelia McIntyre) Marengo Academy senior Nicole Parten is the school's 2013 Homecoming Queen.

(Photo courtesy Raycelia McIntyre)
Marengo Academy senior Nicole Parten is the school’s 2013 Homecoming Queen.