2020 Homecoming Queen and Princess Crowned


When it comes to the classic American high school experience, the tradition of Homecoming plays an important role. The game, the dance, and the presentation of the court all embody the very definition of Americana, and since their origins in the early 20th century, they’ve become embedded in our nation’s culture.

On Saturday, October 25th, Morris Hills held its Homecoming game against Mendham. Along with a triumphant 28-16 victory, Morris Hills celebrated its Homecoming court. Seniors Marti Colasurdo and Emily VanHouten were crowned Homecoming Queen and Princess, respectively.

Their reactions were mainly ones of surprise. “I could not stop laughing,” Colasurdo recalled. “It was just so unbelievable.”

Unbelievable in a good way, VanHouten clarified. “I remember after, when we walked off the field, I just looked at Marti and gave her the biggest hug.”

For them, being a part of this longstanding tradition was an unexpected joy, but it did not come without certain expectations. 

“I honestly think there’s a stigma about homecoming queen and princess at other schools,” Colasurdo said. When asked what this stigma is, her answer was simple: “Popular. Mean.” 

Both of them see changing this perception as part of their jobs as representatives of the senior class. “I just think that our job is to be… better as individuals so people will realize they voted us in for a good reason,” Colasurdo said.

Beyond that, VanHouten also commented on the Homecoming Queen and Princess’s position as role models. “It’s good to show everyone that it’s good to be kind, [to] be nice to everyone, try your hardest, [and] set a good example,” she said. 

Even as they take on these new roles, both are still adjusting to the surprise of it all: not only that they were voted as Queen and Princess, but also that their four years at Morris Hills are coming to an end. The people they were as freshmen were completely different from the way they are now.

Colasurdo remembered her younger self as a little more hesitant to participate in school activities than she is now, as senior class president, Homecoming Queen, and member of the soccer and lacrosse teams. “I just remember seriously caring a lot about what other people thought,” she recalled, which affected what sort of activities she was willing to try out. Looking back, Colasurdo said of her freshman self, “She can do anything. I kind of underestimated myself a lot when I was younger.”

For VanHouten, much of the change between freshman and senior year has been internal. “I’ve become a lot more comfortable with myself, and [I’ve] really found my voice in high school.” Still, there is advice she wishes she could give her younger self, who would have low points during which she felt overwhelmed by everything. “Live your life as you want to,” VanHouten said to that girl. “There are going to be rough patches, there are going to be highs and lows, but honestly: keep on going.”

For the rest of the student body, theirs may be a lesson in expecting the unexpected. While we have come to see surprises such as global pandemics or dramatic elections, there are also pleasant ones, reminders that we have far more potential than we know. Growing up, though painful at times, is the long road we walk to see how far that potential takes us.