Tailgating and Tiaras: The 2022 Homecoming Game

Interim President Dr. Kenneth A. Jessell, Homecoming King Lucas Zamora, Homecoming Queen Amanda Taylor, and school mascot Roary pose for a picture on the field | Priscilla Pozo, PantherNOW.Interim President Dr. Kenneth A. Jessell, Homecoming King Lucas Zamora, Homecoming Queen Amanda Taylor, and school mascot Roary pose for a picture on the field | Priscilla Pozo, PantherNOW.

Priscilla Pozo | Staff Writer

Despite losing the game against UConn, the FIU community came out in full swing to show their panther pride at the Oct 8 Homecoming Game. 

Good food, good music, and good friends all came together to create a recipe for a successful tailgate followed by the captivating performances given by the FIU Dazzlers, the Marching Band, and the Color Guard.

Despite the location being changed to the Tamiami Promenade, sentiments for tailgating remained the same. 

“At the end of the day, we’re all here to have fun. The tailgating location could be anywhere and we’ll still show up and have a good time,” said Daniel Deniss, a junior and member of the Sigma Chi fraternity at FIU enjoying the tailgate with his fellow brothers. 

Other students were eager to be able to come together after the pandemic and all the restrictions that came with it during its peak. 

“I decided to tailgate because I feel that there’s been a long period of time at FIU, because of COVID, that has minimized the campus life,” said President of the Xi Kappa Chapter of the Kappa Sigma Greek Organization and senior, Brenden Wolnek. “Now with our new Interim President and new Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life here at FIU, there’s a lot more potential for all the organizations to come together and show all students a great time.” 

As students, friends, family, and alumni made their way to the stadium, the sounds of the Wertheim FIU Marching Band could be heard from the stands. Flashes of glittery pom-poms could be seen from the field as the FIU Dazzlers and cheerleaders performed signature tricks and lifts. 

The FIU Dazzlers strike a pose in their performance during the first quarter. Priscilla Pozo, PantherNOW.
FIU cheerleaders cheer on the FIU football team. Priscilla Pozo, PantherNOW.

During halftime, the FIU Color Guard collaborated with the marching band to put on a fun and energetic medley of pop songs that ended with a performance of the FIU alma mater. The marching band even put down their instruments and showed off their own dance moves.

There was an air of anticipation as the Homecoming Court made their way onto the field for the climax of the halftime show: the crowning of the King and Queen. 

Lucas Zamora cried tears of joy as he was crowned the 2022 Homecoming King. A graduating senior double majoring in International Business and Marketing, Zamora reminisced on the rollercoaster of an experience and the impact it has left on him.

“I was definitely doubting myself at first, but my [Beta Theta Pi] fraternity brothers helped me push through and I’m proud to represent this institution to its fullest as the homecoming king,” Zamora said to PantherNow. “At the end of the day, I’ve learned that we’re only here for a short time, so make sure you have fun and do FIU to its fullest.” 

The 2022 Homecoming Queen Amanda Taylor, a Marketing major graduating this semester, was overwhelmed by the entire experience.

Amanda Taylor congratulated by her fellow homecoming queen nominees as she is crowned the 2022 Homecoming Queen. Priscilla Pozo, PantherNOW.

“It is really crazy, really surreal. Everyone that ran was so amazing and it was a tough competition, but I am so happy to be able to represent FIU. I am glad that we all managed to become such good friends because of this. It’s been an amazing experience.” 

When asked about what she took away from this experience, Taylor looked back on her own courage throughout the process and gave some words of advice.

“I never thought I’d be capable of this ever,” said Taylor, “but here I am and I just won so, you can do whatever you want in life if you just go for it.”

Students cheer on the FIU football team. Priscilla Pozo, PantherNOW.

Following the pandemic, the resurgence of student life on campus is evident, and the excitement from students is clear. 

More photos are available below using the slideshow.

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