The crowd was on their feet cheering and clapping, waiting for the crowning of Texas A&M University-Kingsville 2016 Homecoming Queen and King. As the Top 5 candidate pairs were on the field with the Javelina Marching Band playing Fanfare and Flourishes by James Curnow, the anticipation of the crowning was increasing.
Homecoming King is Ajinkya Pawar from Nashik, India and is a graduate studying for a Masters of Science. Homecoming Queen is Nilofar Sayyad from India and is a graduate studying for a Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering. Both candidates representing the Association of Indian Students.
“Being an Indian and a Muslim Queen, that has made some different record in itself than just an Indian Queen,” said Sayyad. “I wanted to create this small history and thought it would really be a great honor to be representing as Queen.”
“To be King give me pride for myself. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and I am glad that I took it,” said Pawar.
First runner-up for king is Ujjwal Brara and queen is Felicia Avila. Second runner-up for king is Kumaresh Babu Murugesan and queen is Shelby Shaw. The Student Regent Stephanie Martinez, Miss TAMUK Tessie Ledesma, Internal Affairs Chair Enzo Soza, and Dean of Students Kirsten Compary helped crown the candidates.
“I was too anxious while the final announcement at the games,” said Pawar. “When my name was announced as the homecoming king I was feeling blessed and excited as I had all friends cheering for me. Even after two days, I still have the band playing the tune I my head.” The homecoming queen had a similar response; “I literally had goose bumps when my name was announced. I cannot express my happiness,” said Sayyad. “My mom in India called me a day before and said that I will be the queen. [The Homecoming ceremony] was the most memorable day of my life.”
The Student Government Association Internal Affairs Committee sponsored the Homecoming process. “The complete campaigning process was really systematic but Enzo Soza and the whole team of SGA worked real hard to make sure it was fair for each of the candidate,” said Pawar.
“Campaigning! This was the best part of this Homecoming journey. I really did not know that my relations with students in the campus are so strong until I saw their support in campaigning. I got many new friends in this journey,” said Sayyad.
When asked what the Queen and King will like for the student-body to know, Sayyad said, “The student-body has handled every situation in a way that is very appreciating. I feel proud to be part of such a wonderful university with such active and smart students. Everyone is fantastic. Special thanks to Ms. Elizabeth Lawrence, she was the first person who encouraged me to run for Homecoming Queen.”
“I would like to thank each student who voted for me. It’s their support and love that Nilofar Sayyad and I are Queen and King. I would also like to thank every member of AIS for helping and I invite everyone to join AIS and our events. Lastly, thank you to everyone for making us feel at home at TAMUK,” said Pawar.