The 2016 Virginia Wesleyan Homecoming Parade took place on Friday, Oct. 7 on the Batten Lawn. The event, run by the Student Government Association (SGA), drew 24 clubs, organizations, faculty members and athletic teams all doing their best to incorporate the jungle theme into their acts and win one of the five $100 prizes.
“I am very satisfied with how the parade went. We had a great turnout, both in the parade and with parade goers. I noticed that virtually every member of the college’s administration was in attendance – it’s always nice to see how much support we get from them,” SGA President Nicholas Hipple said.
All of the bleachers were packed and the crowd had to resort to standing along the parade route. Some lucky audience members were able to find a seat by the stairs next to the judges’ table.
Once the winners were announced, the majority of the crowd stormed over to the outside area of The Batten Center overlooking the parade where facility workers were ready to drop hundreds of balloons. Each balloon had a prize in it ranging from cash to gift cards that students could take home with them.
Homecoming was cancelled last year because of Hurricane Joaquin, so this parade was the first VWC Homecoming Parade for both sophomores, freshmen and Miller.
“I’d also like to express my gratitude to our Offices of Advancement and Alumni Relations for a very successful Homecoming & Family Weekend despite the unanticipated planning challenges caused by the weather. It was a pleasure to take part in this treasured VWC tradition alongside students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff and friends of the College,” Miller said in a recent Nota Bene email.
During the parade, each sports team and club had the opportunity to put on a mini-show and compete for a prize.
Batten Lawn turned into a jungle for 45 minutes as organizations did their best Tarzan and Jane impressions, different style dances and tossed prizes to the crowd.
The Women’s Lacrosse team decided to mix in a couple classic jungle scenes from “The Jungle Book” and “Tarzan” for their skit.
“This year we really grew as a team doing this together and we all worked together and thought of ideas instead of just being told what to do and wear and buy. I think it was good to hear everyone’s opinions because that’s very important to being successful on the field and off and in every aspect of life,” Women’s Lacrosse Team Captain Megan Schallock said.
Although the team members were able to do their performance with cheers from the crowd, they wished some things could have gone differently.
“It would have been nice to spend more time on the overall performance of the skit and the quality of it and having an actual float to present to the judges instead of just a sign on the car,” Schallock said.
This year, both SGA and the Wesleyan Activities Council (WAC) experienced slow sign-ups for events. However, SGA was able to prevail through this difficulty.
“At first, people were slow to sign up to participate in the parade after the general email, so we called an audible. We specifically reached out to each coach, each Greek president, et cetera. That helped increase the enrollment in the parade and ultimately made the parade what I would definitely call a success,” Hipple said.
The five prizes were awarded for Best Skit, Best use of Theme, Best Float and Best Overall. Men’s basketball took home Best Skit with its rendition of Tarzan saving Jane. The African Student Association won Best Overall Use of Theme. Alpha Sigma Alpha and Sigma Nu drove away with Best Float. The Dance Team brought the Most VWC Spirit. The Elite Marlin Steppers awed the crowd with a performance earning Best Overall.
The judges for the event were Dr. Craig Wansink, professor of religious studies and the Joan P. and Macon F. Brock, Jr. and director of the center for the study of religious freedom, Josh Ford, village IV coordinator, and Elaine Aird, accounts payable coordinator in the business office.
The Homecoming Court was as follows: Freshmen Kylea McCarel and Adam Grass, Sophomores Nicole Johnson and AJ Ramirez, Juniors Michelle Yates and Armon Ardila, and Seniors Amber Gaines and Tyler Turner.