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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

TXST’s longest tradition: TXST alumni voice the importance of homecoming

Illustration by Madison Ware

Homecoming is the longest annual tradition at Texas State. For decades, a week in October has been reserved for students to show school spirit, vote for homecoming kings, queens and Gallardians and enjoy sporting events with maroon and gold flooding the stands.

Shelby Copeland, Texas State alumna and 2020 homecoming queen, said that the opportunities Texas State provided changed her life for the better.

“I love Texas State with all of my heart and soul. This whole experience was so important to me because it felt like I was representing my love for this university,” Copeland said.

Copeland was involved in many student run organizations including Texas State Diamond Sweethearts and Cat Camp. As an undergraduate, Copeland attended homecoming events annually, getting into the Bobcat spirit during tailgates and football games.

“As a student, it was very fun to feel so engaged and present at the games and events knowing that it was such a special traditional experience,” Copeland said.

Kyle Benacquisto was awarded the title of homecoming king in 2021. Benacquisto was involved with Cat Camp, KTSW and the Texas State sociology club.

Royalty court participants are the center of attention during halftime. Students cheer for the court as they parade through tailgate to the stadium. Students and alumni are encouraged throughout the week to celebrate their academic, athletic and social accomplishments.

Benacquisto recalls homecoming night as nothing but magical.

“The atmosphere on the field is really amazing,” Benacquisto said. “Homecoming especially, you really see a big turnout for Texas State fans and its really awesome to participate in that.”

Homecoming offers a week’s worth of opportunities to express pride for Texas State. Students look forward to events like Taco Throwdown, a taco eating contest in which students strive to eat 10 tacos the quickest, and Soap Box Derby, a competition where students build their own soap box vehicle and race to be the first at the bottom of the hill.

Adam Holden, the 2022 Homecoming King became the director of Texas State Pride and Traditions.

Holden participated in several Homecoming events as an undergraduate, including the Soap Box Derby and the Taco Throwdown, placing second by eating nine tacos in 10 minutes. He also had success in the Soap Box Derby event, as during his last year at Texas State he took home first place.

Holden said he gained a sense of fulfillment after participating in events like Soap Box Derby, even though they seemed silly at first.

“If you would’ve asked me my freshman year of college if I was gonna sit in the Soap Box and race down a hill, I probably would’ve laughed and said ‘no,'” Holden said. “Actually having the opportunity to win it felt like a blast.”

Homecoming promotes values of teamwork, community and pride that are important for life after graduation.

“I think it’s something that if you really put yourself out there and you really try to get involved and get engaged with the different activities that we have to offer, it can really change your college experience,” Holden said.

Year by year, homecoming has become a consequential event that students are proud to celebrate with friends and family, with the opportunity to create memories like Copeland, Benacquisto and Holden did.

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