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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Keeping the spirit alive: crowning the homecoming queen

Colin Prenger
Colin Prenger / Arizona Daily Wildcat Homecoming Queen Nominee Morgan Larson

The Homecoming queen is a symbol of tradition at the UA.

This year, 33 applicants competed to be named Arizona’s most spirited, most dedicated, most involved lady Wildcat, said Charlie Spector, queen selection co-chair of the Bobcats Senior Honorary. The honor of representing the UA student body is awarded at the end of nearly a two-month process of nominations, applications and interviews.

The Bobcats Senior Honorary is in charge of crowning Homecoming royalty. According to Spector, clubs started nominating candidates in September and Homecoming queen applications were due Oct. 5.

Since applying, candidates have been participating in social mixers and going to interviews to help the judges get to know them. The honorary is looking for “someone who can show what the University of Arizona is all about,” Spector said.

The first cut was made at 15 candidates. From there, the judges selected the five final candidates who would make up the Homecoming court.

Choosing only five nominees was no easy task, Spector said.

“It’s hard because all the girls are so qualified,” he said. “We’re just very impressed with those seniors that represent our school.”

This week, the final five participated in various Homecoming events like the lighting of “A” Mountain and club olympics. Each candidate campaigned among different UA organizations, hoping to garner support before the elections on Wednesday and Thursday.

Votes are in and suspense is mounting as the UA waits for the announcement of this year’s Homecoming royalty at tonight’s bonfire. Which of these seniors will wear the crown?

Laura Casanova

When Casanova toured the UA for the first time in the hopes of getting away from her hometown of Lubbock, Texas, she was immediately impressed by its beauty and spirited atmosphere.

“As I came on campus I knew it was the right place for me,” she said.

Casanova began in the nursing program, but now she is majoring in psychology. Her minor is in special education and rehabilitation.

Throughout her career at the UA, Casanova has participated in various campus organizations including SMORES Sophomore Honorary and Chain Gang Junior Honorary. She is the president of Chi Omega sorority.

One of Casanova’s role models is British author J.K Rowling. Casanova said she admires Rowling for her creativity, intelligence and determination.

“She is not afraid to be who she is,” Casanova said. “She’s come from nothing and she’s made such a success story.”

Once she leaves the UA, Casanova plans to apply to graduate school and pursue a career in occupational therapy.

Christina Clasby

Clasby is from Scottsdale and has always been a devoted Wildcat, she said.

As an elementary education major, Clasby volunteers and takes methods courses at L M Prince Elementary School, where she works with fourth-grade students.

Beyond the classroom, Clasby is the president of Alpha Phi sorority and a member of the Order of Omega, a greek leadership honor society. Sigma Chi fraternity chose Clasby to represent its chapter’s values as the Sweetheart of Sigma Chi, as well.

The Homecoming queen is not just “outgoing and personable,” Clasby said. She embodies tradition, gets involved with the student body and supports the university.

“There’s spirit involved in it. Being nominated and considered, it just shows that we just embrace what U of A has to offer,” she said.

Clasby attributes much of her success to her grandmother, who supported each of Clasby’s endeavors from cheerleading in high school to leading her sorority.

Looking ahead, Clasby plans to stay in Arizona and hopes to begin her teaching career within the next year.

Morgan Larson

Growing up, Larson came to Tucson often to visit her grandparents. She fell in love with the warm weather and the sunny UA campus and decided to leave Spokane, Wash., to make the UA her new home.

Now, Larson is the president of Gamma Phi Beta sorority and a student employee at UA Mobile. She’s majoring in family studies and human development, and said she hopes to work with families and nonprofit organizations in the future.

Soon, Larson will find out if she has been accepted to the Teach For America program, which would allow her to be a teacher for two years and help pay for her master’s degree in education.

Larson said she feels honored to be a part of the UA’s Homecoming tradition.

“This is the one time of the year when we can have our past, present and future Wildcats together,” she said.

For Larson, the Homecoming queen should be “someone who loves Arizona and will continue to have the spirit of the U of A no matter where she ends up.”

Lauren Dawsey

Dawsey left her hometown of Shavertown, Pa., for the UA’s prestigious dance program.

“It was between here and a school in Pittsburg, and the school in Pittsburg was a one-building school, it was a conservatory. So, I chose the football team and the school spirit over that one building in Pittsburg,” she said.

She is a member of Sigma Kappa sorority and Dancers’ Consortium, a student-run organization that seeks to create community within the dance department. She also dances on the UA’s Pom Line Dance Team. During her junior year, Dawsey served as the UA’s mascot, Wilma Wildcat.

Next semester, she will start auditioning for jobs on cruise ships. Her goal is to someday play a Disney princess and travel the world in the entertainment business.

Dawsey said her grandmother played a significant role in her life by radiating optimism and maintaining in a passion for living. “I just hope I am like her when I’m older — fun and always happy … I want a lot of people to be a part of my life,” she said.

Like many other former Wilma Wildcats, Dawsey hopes to return to the UA next year to support Arizona.

“Bleed red and blue,” she said.

Melissa Tirendi

Even though she’s originally from Phoenix, Tirendi said choosing between Arizona State University and the UA was an easy decision.

She became involved with the UA community immediately as a member of Freshman Class Council. Then, in her junior year, Tirendi participated in Chain Gang Junior Honorary. Now, she is a member of the Club & Organization Standards Board and the Eller Board of Honor and Integrity.

Because she is not involved in Greek Life and she commits much of her time to working outside of school, Tirendi said she was surprised by her nomination. She said she is proud to represent more traditional UA students and bring more diversity to the Homecoming court.

Tirendi is studying business economics, Spanish and Portuguese. Once she graduates, she said she hopes to secure a job in investing or consulting. She is currently searching for opportunities outside the United States, particularly in Brazil.

Tirendi said the role of Homecoming queen is not only a great honor, but a commitment to continuing the traditions of the university.

“I feel like it’s already my responsibility to come back for Homecoming every year,” she said. “I feel like it’s a lifelong thing for sure.”

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