Centennial pageant lights up auditorium

Contestants+participate+in+the+annual+pagenat+that+kicks+off+this+year%E2%80%99s+homecomimg+festivities.+

Ruby Cerino

Contestants participate in the annual pagenat that kicks off this year’s homecomimg festivities.

Kimberly Valle, Staff Reporter

The university officially kicked off homecoming festivities with its traditional pageant that took place Sunday, Oct. 5 at the Magoffin Auditorium. With this year’s theme being UTEP’s 100th birthday celebration, the participants had the chance to think out side the box.

“Participants have a good time and enjoy themselves, they understand the big tradition of the pageant,” Alvin Garcia, senior media advertising major and coordinator, said. “It’s not just a thing you do, it’s a tradition that we have always had here at UTEP, to bring those people out
of their bubble.”

The pageant consisted of 24 women and 16 men. For the first time in history, freshmen were allowed to participate in this event. Dance performances by Del Valle high school, Prodigy Dance Company and Allegro Dance Company were also part of the show. The Masters of the Ceremony were Kandolite Flores, UTEP alumna and former 2009 homecoming queen, and Daniel Villa, marketing athletics director and former 2010
homecoming prince.

The university’s buildings covered in glittery snow were featured in the stage’s background. Through out the three-hour event, the contestants managed to entertain the audience and kept them laughing. Students showcased their ideas pertaining to their major, organization and the homecoming theme.

The pageant continued with the spirit wears competition, where participants showcased their costumes and their talents. The themes included the explanation of what minerpalooza means to the university, the history of the architecture, old school dances and songs from the university and the famous 1952 alligator prank.

Participants also brought out their best gown and walked across the stage. The top ten contestants were each given a question pertaining UTEP’s celebration.

Many of the performances had the crowd standing and cheering on after the performances were completed.

Alysa Thornton, sophomore, microbiology major who represented the university’s Honors program, portrayed Danny Olivas, UTEP alumni and former NASA astronaut, who in 2007 boarded the space shuttle called Atlantis. Thornton spoke about his impact on the community and the university, and after her speech she danced a salsa routine by
Enrique Iglesias.

Crystal Saavedra, senior marketing major who represented Delta Sigma Pi, won as this year’s homecoming Princess. She showcased a hip hop routine that had the crowd cheering throughout the performance.

The male participants also amazed the audience with their performances. Cristian Gonzalez, sophomore multimedia journalism major, represented the Gold Diggers and won as this year’s homecoming prince. He dressed up as an old gold-digger and showcased a dance from the ‘50s to the university’s traditional fight song, ending his performance with a dance from today.

Marco Antonio Vega, senior kinesiology major who ran as independent, won as this year’s homecoming king.

“I feel honored and extremely humble to have won this special Centennial Homecoming King,” Vega said. “It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime achievement to be a Centennial King.”

Vega dressed up as a newspaper boy, holding The Prospector’s centennial newspaper and yelling out “Extra, extra, read all about it!” Vega talked about how the tradition of painting the letter M on top of the mountain by the Sun Bowl got started. He later switched his costume in front of the audience into a soccer coach and portrayed his major into his costume and presented a speech on how he would give to the community.

“I feel I have to raise the bar as King and represent this great university in the highest light it rightfully deserves,” Vega said. “I love my community, this university and I hope to express it during this special homecoming year.”

Alvin, a former participant of the homecoming pageant two years ago, encourages students to participate, as he understands that for some students it can be nerve-wracking to stand in front of a crowd.

“We believe that every student is allowed to participate, it doesn’t mater if you are a freshman or a grad student,” Garcia said. “We try to keep it fair. You don’t have to be super involved to be in a pageant to rep your school, it’s all about the passion.”

The rest of the homecoming court consisted of Queen Bianca Gomez, senior dance performance major, Duke, Daniel Morales, senior music general major, and Duchess, Cristina Rolph, freshman pre-
pharmacy major.

Kimberly Valle may be reached [email protected]