By: Whetstone Writing Staff
With more than 100 audience members, the Homecoming parade had double the amount of students, faculty, alumni and community members this year compared to last.
“I think the parade was very successful,” said Andrew Layton, the emcee. “A lot of alumni participated, which was very exciting and it was an energetic crowd.”
Coordinator of Student Affairs LaDarius Thompson said he agreed.
“The parade was full of Wesley pride and spirit,” he said. “President Johnston said it was one of the best parades he had seen.”
Students in the parade said they had a great time walking.
“I had a lot of fun,” said junior Janel McCray, the vice president of Black Student Union. “I think walking in the parade with my organization made us a closer family.”
Senior Kadijha Michel, who also represented Black Student Union, said she enjoyed walking the parade too.
“We had a great time,” she said. “We were in front of the cheerleaders, so that was fun. As a senior, this is my last undergraduate Homecoming and it was a good one. We threw out candy to the audience and I loved watching the kids get so excited for the candy.”
Some students in the parade took the theme Wild Wild West to heart. Freshman Sam Marston helped represent Williams Hall for the Resident Hall Association (RHA), where he was in full costume as an Indian.
“Our theme was Western Warriors, like cowboys and Indians,” he said. “I was the chief Indian.”
He said his favorite part was taking pictures with everyone.
“I felt like a Disney character,” he said. “So many people wanted to take photos of or with me, and I loved just walking around, saying hi to people and talking to so many different people.”
Alumni who watched the parade said they were happy to come back, too.
Don Diblasi, an alumna who was inducted into the Wesley Hall of Fame for football this past summer, said he was excited to come back to the campus for the Homecoming.
“It’s a beautiful campus,” he said, referring to the new north and south plazas. “We really liked the Soul Steppers, the little girls in the red. They were the best and very cute.”
Mary Ann Brady, alumna of ’62, came all the way from Hawaii, where she now lives, for the Homecoming this year.
“It’s a little far,” she said. “But it was worth it. I hadn’t been back to Wesley since I left. A ton has changed. There’s really only a small group of us here today, though.”
Alumna of ’62 Dick Horn was also here, along with his wife Marge.
“We were the first team with Coach Jim Wentworth for basketball,” he said. “It was still a junior college when I went here. We’re impressed that the school is still small, but has plenty of activities. We’re looking forward to seeing the football game later today.”
Horn said his favorite memories of Wesley revolved around the people.
“There are so many nice people,” he said. “It’s still that way, too. Going on the website and talking to Amanda Downes [president of the alumni association] was just so easy. The planning for the weekend was very well done. We met the president and his wife yesterday and that was nice, too.”
He said his favorite part of the parade were the fraternities and sororities.
“There weren’t any fraternities or sororities when I went here,” he said. “It was very cute. I also loved seeing the new campus, with the entire pavement. It’s lovely.”
Senior Korey Thompson said he liked the parade, but he was upset that it was cut short.
“I thought the parade was different this year and it sucks that it was cut short,” he said. “The class of 1962 was here and it’s amazing how fast time passes, but we can still relate to the past Wesley generations.”
Community member Loretta McCoy said her granddaughter was in the parade, so she wanted to come support her.
“She is a cheerleader for the middle school,” she said. “My pastor’s daughter also goes here and I came out to support them too. The whole parade was really nice, but of course I liked my granddaughter’s best.”
After the parade, the school hosted a tailgate, which was held across from the football field.
Students joined alumni for the cookout and to mingle with friends and alumni.
“I’m out here to spend time with my APD [Alpha Phi Delta] brothers and engage with other Wesley students,” said sophomore Brandon Greene, also know by his fraternity name “Diddie.” “School spirit and support is really important.”
Other students agreed, using the tailgate party as a venue to safely party together.
“I’m here to support my team,” said sophomore Brandon Brayley, a linebacker for the football team. “I also came to hang out with my fraternity brothers and to meet with old friends, students who already graduated.”
Junior John Jackson, known as “Pluto” in his fraternity, said one of his favorite parts of Homecoming is to see the alumni come back to Wesley.
“It’s great to see the alumni coming back still getting involved,” he said. “Homecoming in college is much bigger than in high school, and this being my third one, I had fun.”