Homecoming court horrors recounted

Queen hopeful shares odd initiation experience


Photo by Melissa Bushong

Jenny Gilopigo talks about how becoming homecoming queen changed her life for the worse. After the interview, Gilopigo crawled out of the nearest window and escaped into the night.

Hailey Boger, Reporter

The announcement for this year’s homecoming court was made last Tuesday during third block, with three girls and three boys in the running. Supposedly, the nominees were drawn into a dark room lit by candles with administration and counselors watching in anticipation.
While administration refused to give the exact details of the meeting, homecoming queen nominee Maddie Simpson says that the process was “almost ritualistic.”
“They led us in a room – all of us being considered for nomination – and at first they had us just stand there,” Simpson said. “They just watched us for like 20 minutes.”
Simpson says after that, they were told to perform a variety of actions such as smiling and waving, flirting, and telling jokes. According to Simpson, nobody was entirely sure why they were down there, but thinking it must be important they played along anyway.
Their next task was to sprint down the hall while screaming as loud as they could. Simpson said their reasoning behind this was “to see if they would do well in an emergency situation.” She also said that half of the kids tripped and fell while running. These nominees were disqualified immediately.
For the remaining competitors, they were asked to get into groups of three and do their best interpretive dance to Earth Wind & Fire’s “September.” Since Simpson is a dancer, she thought she did fairly well, but the whispering and dirty looks amongst administration told her otherwise.
When everything was over, Simpson says she and the rest of the nominees were taken individually into another dark room. Every person before her came out looking lost and confused, as if they had their memories wiped. When it was her turn, all they did was take her into the room, do a strange chant, throw water in her face and let her go.
While she didn’t lose any of her memories, the students that were with her didn’t remember a thing about the ritual when she asked them about it. This left Simpson in a confused state, questioning her involvement in the court as a whole.
“I can’t believe what I’ve gotten myself into,” Simpson said. “I’m kind of wondering ‘what will happen if I win?’”
Despite everything, Simpson doesn’t plan on dropping out of the running for homecoming queen. She isn’t quite sure what will happen to her if she speaks out about the ritual, though.
Former homecoming queen and SHS graduate Jenny Gilopigo also doesn’t remember much from the court nomination process, and her overall experiences during the whole ordeal left her a paranoid.
“I dunno man, I think they did something to me,” Gilopigo said as she adjusted her tin foil cap. ”Like they brainwashed me or something.”
All Gilopigo remembers from the day of her nomination process is being called down to the office and leaving with a wet face and a bit of a headache. She can barely recall a dark room and the flickering light of candles, though she isn’t sure if she imagined that or not.
After the general hype of her winning had died down, Gilopigo locked her tiara in a safe with a few dozen locks as a grim reminder of a time she can’t remember. Her parents insisted she bring it to college with her, but every time they brought it up she just added another lock to the safe.
Even at night, Gilopigo swears she can hear the shrill screams of high school children as they run down the halls.