It was only fitting that the cheerleader got the loudest cheers.
Some came from her fellow cheerleaders but many also came from the crowd, as Kaitlyn Gaffney was introduced first as a Homecoming Queen candidate on Friday night, Oct. 4 and then presented with the crown at halftime of the varsity football contest.
It was the final event of a festive Homecoming Week in Escalon, a week that featured dress up days on the high school campus, a float competition among the classes, the Friday afternoon parade and celebrating 100 years of Escalon High School. Parade emcee and Escalon Mayor Robert Swift said the celebration was well-organized and offered praise to this year’s Homecoming Commissioners Madelyn Page and Ella MacKinnon for “a job well done.”
Kaitlyn, along with fellow seniors Mya Beary, Hannah Boyd, Tess Cosby and Sage Davis were nominated for Homecoming Queen, taking part in a Thursday night rally at the school and then riding in the Friday afternoon parade. Kaitlyn is a cheerleader; the other four are all playing volleyball as their fall sport.
Each was escorted to the center of the football field by their father on Friday night, with commissioners Page and MacKinnon handling the emcee duties.
Also honored on Friday night – before the crowning of the new queen – were Grand Marshals Evelyn Swass and Felix Kalin. Evelyn Swass graduated from EHS in 1947 and has lived in Escalon her entire life, starting first grade at Burwood School. Felix Kalin, a graduate of EHS in 1943, came here from Switzerland when he was three years old.
The parade of class floats occurred in between the JV and varsity football games, with the junior class declared the winners with their 1950s themed float.
A float featuring several past Homecoming Queens also went around the track and on hand to crown the new royalty was Sara Webster, the 1994 Homecoming Queen and aunt of last year’s honoree, Hailie Webster, unable to attend due to being back east in college.
New Queen Kaitlyn was greeted by loud cheers and applause, presented with several gifts by the football team captains including a cape, signed football, flowers and more. Captains David Camacho, Colton Panero, Kaden Christensen, Jacob Walden and Damien Tom were all on hand to make the presentations. After posing for photos, Kaitlyn was escorted trackside by dad Kevin Gaffney and embraced by the entire cheer squad before moving on for a ‘victory lap.’
“I feel thankful and surprised,” Kaitlyn said after receiving the crown. “It was a really fun, really exciting week and I didn’t think at all I was going to win. All the other candidates are super nice, we had a lot of fun.”
The fun of Homecoming Week continued following the crowning, as the varsity football team shut out the visiting Modesto Christian Crusaders to celebrate the night with a big win.