Homecoming Court 2020

Natalie Masachi, Editor-in-Chief

Homecomings, football games, and the excitement of dressing up for this magical night weren’t the same this year. Rancho Cucamonga High School was trying to reconcile the need for protection with the hope of offering students a sense of normalcy during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic, however, required some revisions to those traditions for the 2020-2021 school year. Adjusting to the new normal, Ms. Francie Ward, the advisor of ASB (associated student body), gave her take on the main reason homecoming court happened this year. She said, “The tradition of having a Homecoming Court is a part of every high school’s history. We knew we would eventually have a court this year, but waiting for a traditional version may have made it impossible to record it in our yearbook and Cat’s Eye. We also realize our students need a little good news.”

Students virtually participated in the week of Homecoming, which was done through the ASB Instagram (@rc.asb) through exciting spirit days that came with the week. Interaction was accomplished by sharing images such as athletic wear, red, white, and blue attire, pajama day, and cougar spirit day to be featured on the ASB instagram story.

After much back-and-forth of if this was even possible, Ms. Ward gave some insight on how they were able to accomplish having the Crowning Ceremony this year. She said, “This year’s court crowning will still take place on the football field. We created a court video that introduces our court and showcases them dancing a little which is usually a centerpiece to our Homecoming rally. Their escorts will still walk them across the field while their bios are read, then Sarah Tolentino, our 2019-20 queen, will crown them. This will be live streamed.”

The student body was a part of the voting process which came down to six winners of the Homecoming Court including Elicia Acosta, Ever Cooke, Bella Esquivel, Rose Loera, Cayla Mathias, and Jamie Ortega.

With Homecoming still a surprise to many during these difficult times, being nominated to be a princess came as a shock to most of the senior girls.

RCHS crowned Senior Cayla Mathias as Homecoming queen for the 2020-2021 school year.

Cayla Mathias is an all around representative of the Rancho Way. She leads her freshmen as Link Crew President, and her positive attitude is shown by supporters through her nomination on Homecoming Court. Mathias explains her initial reaction to the news, “I was shocked, I was excited, it caught me off guard! I was very honored to be on a court with the most awesome girls!”

Mathias and five other RCHS seniors made up this year’s 2020 RCHS Homecoming Court. Mathias shared her positivity about the other nominees, “They are all sweet, caring, loving girls! The positivity that was radiated in all of them was just, iconic!”

Above all Mathias wants all the students at Rancho Cucamonga to know, “I want the students at Rancho to know that positivity is key, no matter what life throws at you! Life is hard, but never let it change who you are and what you are passionate about.”

Ever Cooke shares that she was “completely fooled” when she found out she was a nominated princess saying, “It was so surprising because I really wasn’t sure if I would get on court but I’m very glad that I did.” The nomination came as such a surprise to Cooke, that she gave a nod to her local thrift store for the last-minute gown she wore for the Crowning Ceremony that took place on RCHS’s football field. “Never underestimate thrift stores,” said Cooke. “I bought my perfect-fitting gown for $10 at Salvation Army. That was a STEAL!”.

Speaking with Homecoming Princess Jamie Ortega about her take on the night, she expressed the importance of confidence. She said, “From this experience I learned a lot about breaking out of your shell and having a lot more confidence in yourself. I’m a pretty outgoing person but when it comes down to being put in the spotlight I tend to be really critical of myself. This experience really helped me kinda let go of that and just have fun. I kept reminding myself that it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity so I have to enjoy it and stop stressing” motivating our cougars to put themselves out there!”

Rose Loera,who we see mostly on the Cougar News, shared how it felt being nominated for homecoming court during troubling times. She said, “It definitely was amazing, still is amazing. Ever since a little girl I’ve dreamt of something like this, to be one of the princesses in my high school! So I thought it would be perfect to play one of my family’s favorite songs,Walking on a dream by Empire the Sun, because I was literally walking down the field on a dream”. Sharing this special moment with Loera’s loved ones was definitely her highlight.”

Next, Elicia Acosta, a recent UC Santa Barbara Commit, shares something she wants the students at Rancho Cucamonga High school to know. She said, “I want Rancho students to truly know how grateful I am for them and how much they have impacted me. I really wouldn’t be where I am without you guys and I love you all soooo much” Acosta surely has a lot of pride for our Cougars sharing her appreciation for the nomination and “bringing back the school spirit.”

Bella Esquivel is at the heart of everything Rancho. Through her position in leadership, she really understands the importance of having a celebration for a continued tradition of Homecoming court. She shares just why, “I feel like it was important because due to the pandemic, we are very limited to what we do! It sucks because I love seeing people and it just isn’t the same! So the fact that the staff had made the small ceremony possible was amazing!”

Rancho Cucamonga High School is seeking to balance the need for protection with the expectation that during the Coronavirus pandemic, it will give students a sense of normalcy.

Thank you to the students and staff who contributed to this wonderful journey of a virtual homecoming. While we are not in school, it is a great experience to hold the memory.