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All Hail the Queen & King

By Nikhilesh Chhetri
On October 31, 2017

Senior sports management majors Bryce Carpenter, left, and Mattie Hawkins, right, were crowned 2017 Homecoming King and Queen after waiting three weeks to be crowned because of a weather postponement. Larshell Green/The Lion’s Roar

As halftime approached in Strawberry Stadium, seven pairs of participants dressed in formal wear entered the field with the desire of hearing their name announced as the Homecoming King and Queen of 2017. 

On Saturday, Oct. 28, Bryce Carpenter and Mattie Hawkins were named 2017 Homecoming King and Queen.

“It feels amazing,” said Carpenter. “My sister won in 2011, so to become the Homecoming King this year, words can’t describe how I feel.”

“I’m excited,” said Hawkins. “I’m happy. I’m going through a wide range of emotions right now, but most of all I’m really grateful.” 

Carpenter is a senior sports management major from Annawan, Illinois. He is a member of several organizations including: Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., the Sports Management Association and is a Student Government Association Senator. 

Carpenter was previously a tour guide for the Office of Admissions and was a member of the 2016-2017 Student Technology Fee Committee. He is scheduled to serve on SGA’s Appropriations Committee.

Hawkins is also a senior sports management major. She, like Carpenter, participates in campus organizations. She is the Chapter President and Sweetheart of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., Project PULL mentor (Promoting Unity through Leadership and Learning), Special Olympics Louisiana intern and a student worker in the Office of Disability Services.

Hawkins has been the recipient of several honors. The Baton Rouge native was named as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s first winner of the Ms. Bold Beautiful Woman Pageant winner in 2016. She was also featured in the 2017 Student Success Textbook as a student leader. 

Carpenter’s love for the university is the reason that he ran for king.

“I just ran because I love Southeastern,” said Carpenter. “I would’ve never thought I would’ve done something like this. I really don’t know how to describe it.”

Hawkins described her purpose for running for queen.  

Hawkins said, “I ran because I feel like I’ve put work into the campus like forcing organizations to do things, and by being a public face around the campus while being a motivating person.”

Carpenter explained the highlight of the campaign. 

“I enjoyed the learning experience and the fun I had,” said Carpenter. “I had so much fun throughout the whole process. It’s been a blast.”

Hawkins was left speechless following her name being announced. 

“I got real emotional when I heard my name,” said Hawkins. “When they called my name and told my bio on the speaker, I loved it. It was my favorite part.”

Carpenter wanted to meet his sister after being crowned. 

“Right now, I don’t want to do anything else other than find my sister and give her a hug,” said Carpenter.

The king and queen had kind remarks to give about each other. 

“My running mate Maddie Hawkins won, and it’s fantastic that we ran together and we won together,” said Carpenter.

The previous Homecoming King Justin Bankston and Queen Maggie Hinson are also confident that their shoes will be filled.

“He’s a great guy,” said Bankston. “He’s represented Southeastern very well. He’s involved with quite a few organizations. I think he’s a good fit for the king.”

Hinson described her appreciation for the new queen.

“Mattie has a heart of gold,” said Hinson. “I can’t think of anybody better to represent the university.”

For those considering running for Homecoming Court next year, Carpenter has a word of advice.

“Just have a blast when you’re running,” Carpenter suggested. “It’s a big learning experience, and you learn so much about Southeastern.” 

Hawkins shared her plans as Homecoming Queen.

“I plan to continue to be the motivating force that I am, continue being supportive and to also work to improve the campus and improve my campus involvement.”

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