To say it has been quite a memorable year for Escalon high school student Jacob Walden would be an understatement.
The senior, a key member of the Cougars state championship football team, recently added another accolade to his list of accomplishments. He is now the 2019-2020 Escalon High School Homecoming King.
In a halftime ceremony at the Friday night, Jan. 31 varsity boys basketball game against rival Riverbank, Jacob took the floor with four classmates to await the announcement of the winner.
Candidates this year were, in alphabetical order: David Camacho, Kaden Christensen, Jack Fitzgerald, Kaidence Trejo and Jacob Walden. Each candidate was escorted to center court at halftime, with some biographical information and fun tidbits about them shared by the Homecoming Commissioners, juniors Madelyn Page and Ella MacKinnon.
Escorting David Camacho for the evening were his girlfriend Brooke Campbell and her mom, Kim Campbell. Kaden Christensen made his way to center court with mom and dad Ryann and Brandon Smith and brother Tate Christensen while Jack Fitzgerald was escorted by mom Michelle – a past EHS Homecoming Queen herself – and dad Tim Fitzgerald. Escorting Kaidence Trejo were his parents Adrian Barajas and Alonzo Trejo.
Taking his turn to walk to center court, Jacob Walden was flanked by his dad Mark and mom Karen. He also has a sister, Jordan.
He listed his hobbies as playing football and basketball and participating in the Escalon FFA and band. He hopes to continue playing football in college and plans to pursue a career in agriculture.
He offered thanks to his mom for “never missing a game or concert” along with showing him “how to fight and persevere through hard times all while also making the most of life.”
He also thanked his father, not only for guiding him through life, but also for “setting an example” and calming him down before football games.
Jacob said his coaches, friends and teammates have helped provide a great high school experience and he also offered some advice to underclassmen: Don’t restrict yourself to only one thing and try to be a part of as much as you can.
After hearing his name announced and receiving his crown from Homecoming Queen Kaitlyn Gaffney, Jacob was hugged and congratulated by his fellow candidates – all of whom were members of the state championship football team with him – then shared smiles and hugs with his parents before making his way to the student section of the bleachers for more congratulations.
“I had a lot of fun,” the new King said, smiling about the week’s festivities. “A hell of a senior year.”