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High School Students, Athletes Prepare For Fall Homecoming
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Among those in the Homecoming Court for Escalon, vying for the title of Homecoming Queen on Friday night, are, from left, Bailey Dugo, Jessica Toledo-Pantoja, Emily Vickers and Faye Hernandez. Marg Jackson/The Times

A new Homecoming Queen will be crowned at Escalon High School this week and the football Cougars will look to start the Trans-Valley League campaign out on a winning note.

It’s Homecoming Week, which will be highlighted by the Friday night games against the rival Hughson Huskies, along with crowning of the queen at halftime.

Named as the queen candidates for the senior class were, in alphabetical order, Bailey Dugo, Faye Hernandez, Jessica Toledo-Pantoja, Emily Vickers and Makayla Wentzell.

This year’s theme is ‘Road Trip to Homecoming’.

“Each class at the high school selected a place where they’d like to road trip, and feature highlights of that place on their floats and in their dress up days,” explained student leadership advisor Katie Carbahal “The Homecoming Rally is Thursday afternoon at 2:30 p.m., and then Friday the (downtown) parade starts at 2:30 p.m.”

The class floats will circle the football track Friday evening between the JV and Varsity games, and then the Homecoming Queen is crowned during halftime at the Varsity game. Serving as the Homecoming Commissioners are Janesa Aldasoro (Class of ‘24) and Katelyn Kjellberg (Class of ‘25).

Monday’s dress up day was for the Class of 2026, which chose New York and it was Pajama Day, ‘Spending a night in the city that never sleeps’. Tuesday, the Class of 2025 chose Florida with Tropical Wear the attire for ‘Beach Day in the Sunshine State’.

The Class of 2024 chose Texas with Wednesday observed as Western Wear Day, as students ‘Saddle up to ride the wild west’ and Thursday features the Class of 2023, which chose Oregon. It is a Hippie/Good Vibes dress up day with the theme ‘Have Peace. Give love. Be drippy.’

Friday, Sept. 16 will feature the Cougar colors with the theme ‘The end of the road, we’re coming home. Wear your EHS colors where Cougars roam.’

As far as the Queen candidates, all are involved in a number of sports, clubs and extracurricular activities.

“I was like super shocked,” admitted Toledo-Pantoja of hearing her name announced as a candidate. “I was frozen, like ‘what do I do’?”

Once recovering, she was excited for the selection and said the thing she has enjoyed most at the high school has been cheering, working with fellow cheerleaders to keep school spirit at its peak.

“It’s just such a fun and surreal experience,” she said.

For Emily Vickers, her best memories have come in the form of athletic success, being a part of two Section titles for volleyball her freshman and junior years.

“It’s pretty cool,” she added of being among the five nominees. “All the girls are super nice and fun.”

Faye Hernandez had some words of wisdom for underclassmen.

“It goes by fast … just make the best of it,” she said of enjoying the high school experience. “The most fun for me has been winning Sections (volleyball) and winning TVL for basketball and VOL for softball.”

Surprised is the word that came to mind for Bailey Dugo when asked about her selection.

“I thought it was going to be Kelsey,” she said of friend Kelsey Webster. “I’m looking forward most to the rally and the football game itself.”

Makayla Wentzell said being part of the Homecoming Court is an honor.

“It feels like I won the gold even just with that group of girls, just being nominated,” Wentzell explained. “I love them. I’m looking forward to just being able to experience it all and I’m more excited than nervous.”

The Queen candidates will ride in the Friday afternoon parade and also ride around the track on Friday night prior to the halftime crowning ceremony.

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Unable to attend the Friday morning photo shoot for the Homecoming Queen candidates was Makayla Wentzell, who rounds out the court of five royal hopefuls. Marg Jackson/The Times