COLUMBIA — At homecoming time, people generally focus on a victory at the football game or the perfect song at the dance; one major part of Hickman High School’s homecoming week is about doing things for others.
The homecoming queen candidates, all seniors, hosted their annual Queen’s Charity Fair on Wednesday, selling food to students to raise money for a charity of their choice. Of 10 candidates, the one who manages to raise the most money for her charity is crowned.
Schoolhouse Talk, the Missourian's online conversation about schools in Columbia, is featuring events from Rock Bridge and Hickman high schools during their homecoming weeks.
In the rush of dozens of students coming through the commons area to each lunch, tables and chairs filled with food and desserts could be seen – each as unique and enthusiastic as the queen candidates they represented. Taylor Arnold, the queen candidate representing the Student Council, spruced up her table with bright pink decorations in honor of her charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
“I was happy to be a queen candidate, but I really wanted to raise money for this cause,” said Arnold, who said she was inspired to choose Susan G. Komen because a teacher in the fine arts department had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Taking on representation of the Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center was Alicia Wagner, nominated by Trireme.
“I learned to ride there," Wagner said. "And it’s a local charity, so it really gives back to the community.”
When announcements were made for the top 10 candidates after school on Sept. 28, Wagner said she had to ask why her name had been called. Another queen candidate who didn’t hear the news when it was announced was Kortney Heidy; she didn’t have a seventh hour on Monday.
“I got a bunch of text messages saying ‘Congratulations,’ and then I realized I must have made top 10,” Heidy said.
Helping her out during this lunch period were the “volleyball girls” who nominated her. Heidy chose to support multiple sclerosis research during her queen candidacy and set up karaoke in addition to the treats at her table.
Also selling some sweet treats was Sallie Lindsey, nominated by the cross country team. In honor of her 13-year-old brother, Joey, who also attended Hickman’s Charity Fair on Wednesday, she chose the Dream Factory as her charity for the fair. Based in Kansas City, it's similar to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
“My brother got a computer from the Dream Factory when he was 3," Lindsey said. "The Dream Factory does a lot of great things, too, like sending kids to Lego Land and Disney World.”
Queen candidate Lucky Tran* was using her name as a play on words, selling T-shirts that said “Get Lucky” and raffle tickets for a chance at a pair of tickets to the MU versus Texas game. Her proceeds will benefit Project Peanut Butter, a program for malnourished children in Malawi and Sierra Leone.
“I found out during yearbook, and my friends told me I had to,” Gran said about her candidacy.
Another lunch bell ringing, anxious and hungry students flooded into the commons at Hickman, swarming tables piled high with hot dogs, pizza, pulled pork sandwiches, homemade brownies and caramel apples.
“Food is a big way to get people to buy things,” Mica Lopez said.
Lopez is raising money for the Special Olympics because a friend from her work and a friend’s brother are involved in the organization. A friend’s dad grilled all of the hot dogs the night before so she only had to heat them up before selling them to students. The boys' soccer team nominated her.
Other queen candidates made food the night before.
“We had a busy evening,” Alexa Anderson said of her and her family’s cooking efforts. She is raising money for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition because her stepmother died from the disease. The Hickman dance team nominated her.
Ellen O’Connor is raising money for MedZou, a free clinic run by MU School of Medicine students and professors. She chose the organization because it’s local and she is interested in health care. The cheerleading squad nominated her.
“I spent a lot of time making food,” she said, “It’s been really fun.”
Dina Kaissi sold Columbia’s favorite pizza, Shakespeare’s, to raise money for Doctors Without Borders. She wants to participate in the organization when she’s older and hopes to go to Princeton or West Point to study medicine. The tennis team nominated her.
A local organization started by parents whose 1-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, will benefit from the money Maggie Pace raises. Pascale’s Pals helps families with children receiving treatment at Children’s Hospital in Columbia. Money goes toward Christmas presents, TVs and games for kids and pull-out couches in the room for parents, Pace said.
Pace delivers Easter baskets to the children in the spring along with her father, who dresses up as the Easter bunny. The money Pace raises will be used to help move the children’s wing of the hospital from University Hospital to Columbia Regional Hospital. DECA, a club for students studying marketing, management and business, nominated Pace.
The homecoming queen will be crowned based on a vote of the student body.*