Many children may aspire to be princesses, princes or other fairytale characters they see in Disney movies.
Most of the time, these dreams are unrealistic, but for four children of Ball State alumni, they became reality after being crowded to be a part of the Homecoming Court.
“I’m from Muncie originally, and so I’ve seen how Homecoming has grown in general with Ball State over the past 21 years,” said Chloe Turner, a community and sponsorships chair for the Homecoming Steering Committee.
“I think the Prince [and] Princess program is just a really great opportunity to bring in people that don't live in Muncie anymore. That way you have all aspects of the community — you have those from the Ball State community [and] those from the Muncie community. It’s just a really great way to merge everyone together and remember the ‘good old times.’”
For the second annual event, more than 60 children applied. After all applications were collected, the Homecoming Steering Committee voted on who it thought would best represent Ball State based on their school spirit photos and drawings of Charlie Cardinal.
Grace Strombeck, the 5-year-old princess, is the daughter of Gabriella Strombeck, a 2012 Ball State alumna.
Gabriella filled out an application for her daughter because she thought Grace would be interested.
“My husband’s family is from Selma. We go back [and] see them all the time around Ball State, so [Grace] knows about Ball State,” Gabriella said. “We lived in Muncie for a little bit after she was born too. We had a Ball State cheerleader outfit that I actually wore when I was little, and so we put her in it, and she did some poses and answered the questions about why she likes Ball State.”
After hearing she was selected as Princess, Grace said she thinks it will be fun because she will get to help throw candy to people during the parade with the rest of the Homecoming Court.
“I'm not really hoping for anything that I want to happen,” Grace said. “I just want to do, like, whatever they tell me to do.”
Eva Lloyd, the 3-year-old lady, is the daughter of Karen Lloyd, a 2005 Ball State alumna.
As the Lady of the Homecoming Court, Eva is looking forward to seeing “her birdie,” Charlie Cardinal.
“I just thought that Eva’s adorable,” Karen said. “And more than anything, she just loves Charlie so much.”
For Karen and her family, attending Ball State is a “family tradition” since her sisters, parents and grandmother have all graduated from the university.
“My hope would be that maybe she’ll go [to Ball State] too,” Karen said. “Ball State in general, for me and my family, is a huge part of all our lives.”
In preparation for the event, Eva said she has been practicing her wave and picked out her red dress.
Graham Lawrence, the 8-year-old prince, is the son of Kelli Lawrence, a 2001 Ball State alumna.
In the past, Graham has participated in Ball State’s Dance Marathon as a Riley Kid because he had open heart surgery as a baby.
“[I was] in Ball State’s Dance Marathon. It was really cool [because] one, [I am] still liv[ing],” Graham said. “And two, because you can meet a ton of new people…[including] the football team, [who] normally shows up every year.”
Graham said being chosen as prince was “special” because his parents both went to the Ball State.
“My husband and I were both on the Homecoming Court while we were in college,” Kelli said. “We were both on the Homecoming Steering Committee, so Homecoming holds a special place in our heart. I think Homecoming is an awesome opportunity for the community and the campus, students and alumni, to just come together and celebrate the university.”
Graham said he believes his “really good picture” helped his application stand out, and he will be sporting the football jersey he wore in his photo.
Lincoln Stanley, the 4-year-old lad winner, is the son of Jannette Stanley, a 2012 Ball State alumna.
Like Grace, Lincoln said he is excited to ride in the parade, wave and throw candy.
“[Lincoln] really likes going to all the football games and playing with all his friends,” Jannette said. “So, I think he's going to be really excited to actually go on the turf, see all the football players, eat, watch the plays and throw candy.”
Lincoln said he feels “good” about the opportunity to stand next to the Homecoming King and Queen. He also said he hopes Ball State wins the football game and that he sees Charlie Cardinal.
Contact Alyssa Cooper with comments at email@example.com