Students filled the bleachers of the football stadium on the evening of March 6 for the crowning moment of spring Spirit Week. Seniors Jonathan Burton and Michaela Stiles were announced as king and queen. Simpson Residence won Spirit Week overall.
Stiles, a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, said she was shocked to be nominated for queen in the first place.
“When I found out I was nominated by Pi Phi to be on the court, I was very surprised,” Stiles said. “I love my house, I love the values that we stand for, and I felt so honored to represent my house on homecoming court.”
Stiles said she felt very supported by her friends and family and was honored to stand alongside so many outstanding people.
“For all those who voted for me, I just want to say a sincere thank you,” Stiles said. “I am so proud to be a Hillsdalian, I am so proud of the quality people at this school, and am beyond honored to represent my school as Spirit Week queen.”
Burton, a linebacker on the football team, also said he was honored to be nominated to the court. His family was excited for his accomplishment, he said, and now jokingly calls him “Your Royal Highness.”
“I couldn’t really tell who was going to win. I had a couple front runners in my mind, but it was really cool being recognized by my classmates,” Burton said. “The student section cheering in the bleachers was the first thing I heard after my name was announced, so I’d say I was pretty thrilled. I definitely had some adrenaline going.”
Following the announcement of the royalty, the much-anticipated Mock Rock dance competition began. Each team got a chance to display its stunts, tricks, and synchronization in hopes of swaying judges Jeffrey “Chief” Rogers, associate dean of men; his wife Roma Rogers, the program manager and internship coordinator for Career Services; and Mindy Poole, special programs coordinator.
Juniors Aidan Cyrus and Jane O’Connor also took the floor to emcee the evening.
“I had fun. Jane and I are good buds so that doubled the fun,” Cyrus said. “And some people thought our dumb jokes were relatively funny so, you know, that tripled the fun. All in all, Mock Rock is a great activity for the family.”
Team Dob, a new team this year, took third place. Their dance included a battle between an alien and the team members and ended with the alien defeated.
Whit-Wat-Way won second place and surprised the crowd when each member pulled out a flash light at the same time to transition to a space-themed track. Numerous teams featured a Taylor Swift throwback, and Whit-Way-Way danced to “Shake It Off.” The kicker of their performance was bringing out cardboard cutouts of a futuristic Central Hall, which tied in with the futuristic theme they painted on their banner.
Finally, after a historic loss last year, Simpson came back better than before to reclaim the Spirit Week trophy. They won first place and already have their eye on starting a new streak of victories.
“We wanted our trophy back badly; that definitely was a driving force for those competing for our dorm this year, especially the guys who remember losing last year,” said Caleb Lambrecht, a senior and four-year Simpson resident. “However, the dorm’s purpose is not winning trophies, and our guys understand that.”
Simpson started its dance with a tower of men meticulously stacked on top of each other, spinning around to the beat of “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd. Their routine included several waves, stunts, outfit changes, colored powder, and even Irish dancing.
“These guys love each other and worked so incredibly hard to win for one another,” Lambrecht said. “That made rallying the dorm an absolute joy. To see our guys display enthusiasm and spirit rooted in an appreciation and care for our community was incredible.”
Lambrecht said he was at first surprised that Simpson had won but quickly rushed the field to celebrate with the dorm.
“Initially, I was absolutely shocked,” Lambrecht said. “I’m pretty sure I came across as completely incoherent and crazy for about ten minutes. I wanted to get this win for them, to reward them for all their hard work and to put a seal on the community and camaraderie we had built up over the past two weeks.”
Though homecoming is typically a fall event, the Student Activities Board was able to provide students with a spring Spirit Week that still accomplished its typical events. Even with changes like holding Mock Rock on the football field rather than inside the Roche Sports Complex, many students participated and enjoyed the week.
“All things considered, I think it went really well,” Zane Mabry, director of student activities for the SAB, said. “There were enough people that showed up and enough of a crowd that it made it really fun. The students made it a better atmosphere.”
The evening ended when Simpson was announced as the Spirit Week champion. Mabry said he was excited to see so many groups rally together throughout the week.
“It was really rewarding to see that everyone put aside their busy schedules and participate and really give it their all,” Mabry said. “It’s a good bonding experience for campus, and a good bonding experience for SAB.”
Homecoming 2021 is scheduled to take place this coming fall as usual, though this decision is open to change, Mabry said.
“Hopefully it will look more normal, and as far as I know at least right now that is what we’re fighting for,” Mabry said. “But it’s very up in the air.”