By Annabelle Smallwood, Staff Reporter
The Hardin-Simmons University 2019 Homecoming Court has been announced. Each of these individuals will be running to become university king or queen. The homecoming court students for 2019 are as follows.
Jesper Jiang is a pre-med biochemistry and molecular biology major. He claims a few places as his hometown: Taipei, Taiwan, Beijing, China and Justin, Texas. He is involved in many activities on campus such as serving as an HSU tour guide, HSU ACE tutor, president of the Pre-Health Club, co-president of Student Activities Board, secretary of Kappa Phi Omega, member of Baptist Student Ministries, Joint Admission Medical Program, HSU Chapel Band, 2019 Stampede orange color wrangler and Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society.
Jiang shared what his favorite thing about HSU. “God's love is definitely present and His light shines through this campus. I can truly see and feel a part of the HSU Family. I think that is one of the biggest things I love about HSU. Another thing that I love is the opportunities and leadership opportunities that I have gained, including being able to be a part of a program that helps me to get into medical school . . . HSU truly is a wonderful place and that #HSUDifference is something you just really can't find anywhere else. Thank you HSU, it has been an honor,” Jiang said.
Lucas Pruitt is an exercise science major from Abilene, Texas. He is currently the president of the on-campus club, Hunters Gatherers, Travelers. He was also heavily involved in Stampede, being a wrangler for one year and a color wrangler for two years.
“I am so grateful for this opportunity. I love how community-oriented HSU is. At the end of the day, we are one big family. I also love the faculty who endlessly pour into their students, and mold us into the best people we can be. I love this school and will always be a cowboy,” Pruitt said.
Aaron Dominguez is a vocal performance major from Midland, Texas. He is involved in the HSU Concert Choir and Chorale. He is also the director for the HSU acapella group UpBeat! He has participated in many HSU productions including “Anything Goes”, “The Merry Widow”, “Little Women”, “Working” and more.
“I feel very honored being nominated for homecoming court simply because I am able to represent Hardin-Simmons with the rest of the amazing court. HSU is my second home. I love the people, the faculty and the atmosphere. I am so thankful to be at such an amazing school,” Dominguez said.
Jaquan Hemphill is an exercise science major from Coleman, Texas. He currently plays on the football team, and he is the first HSU football player to be nominated.
“One thing that I do love about Hardin-Simmons is the community setting and how everybody is treated like family in a sense. The friendships and relationships that I have made here are incredible and will last a lifetime, and the memories will be forever!” Hemphill said.
Parker Johnson is a biology major, and he plans on attending HSU's Doctor of Physical Therapy program after graduation. Even though he was born in Illinois, he grew up in Piedmont, Okla. On campus, Parker is a resident assistant in the University Place Apartments, a part of our chapel worship team, a member of Honors council and the SGA senior class president.
“I am honored to be nominated to represent my class and this amazing student body. My time at HSU has been some of the best years of my life. I have grown in so many facets of life, and the people here are amazing,” Johnson said.
Elizabeth Bygel, a marketing major with a minor in communications, is from Lubbock, Texas. She is the student body president, as well as a member of Tri Phi Social Club, Gamma Beta Phi honors society and Delta Mu Delta business fraternity. She has also worked in Anderson Residence Hall for three years and is currently the assistant resident director.
“I feel very blessed that I was nominated. Since coming to HSU, I have had the opportunity to get involved in many different areas, some that I am no longer a part of and others where I am. Through these opportunities I have been able to meet different types of people who have made an impact on me and helped me shape the way in which I see the world. I believe HSU has some of the best, most interesting students,” Bygel said.
Ify Onyemelukwe is a human services administration major with a minor in social work. She is from Nigeria, and she now lives in Abilene with her husband and her four kids. She is the founder and president of Honor Society Chapter.
“It is my pleasure to be one of HSU's family with the great and amazing professors and staff. They have helped shape who I am and who I will become tomorrow. I have great friends who support me when I am weak and unable to continue. I am so thankful for all the people who surround me here. HSU is truly my second home. I spend almost all my days here studying and creating relationships with those around me. HSU has taught me how to love myself in order to love others,” Onyemelukwe said. After graduation, Onyemelukwe plans on going back to her home country and start a school that is preschool through high school.
A’breanna Harrison is an interdisciplinary studies and education major from Ferris/Wichita Falls, Texas. She plays on the women’s basketball team, is the treasurer for The Black Student Union, Proven, serves as a SAAC representative, is a member of Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society and FCA. After graduation, she plans on earning her master’s degree and then her doctorate degree in education.
“I love HSU because I am able to grow in every aspect. It is important to me to know my full self in every realm. Here I am more than an athlete, student, etc. I am someone. I am not only able to grow closer to God here, but I am able to see God in the people here. I have met so many great people here and I am truly thankful for God placing me here at HSU. HSU COWBOYS Yeeeehawwwww!” Harrison said.
Lauren Monteleone is a biology major with a psychology minor from Houston, Texas. She is the 2019-2020 Greek Council president, and she is serving her second term as the president of Delta, a social club on campus. She served as the student body president in 2018-2019, member of Psi Chi Honors Society, Gamma Beta Phi Honors Society, BSM, Pre-Health Club and Pre-Physical Therapy Club. She is also a student worker in the Alumni Relations Office.
“It’s pretty incredible to be nominated for the homecoming court as my mom was on the court when she attended HSU as the class of ‘89. She passed away when I was 15 and when this happened, I set out to channel some of her characteristics in my daily life as she was truly the most incredible person I’ve ever known. Living out her legacy at Hardin-Simmons has been a true honor and something I cherish about this university. Being led here to receive a higher education while also challenging my faith has grown me into someone that no other university could have influenced me to be. I am forever grateful for Hardin-Simmons and hope that I have impacted this school just a fraction of the way it has impacted me,” Monteleone said.
Bridgett Mistrot is a BFA theater-actor major from Beaumont, Texas. She is involved in all of the plays and musicals on campus. She is also in Alpha Psi Omega, the national theatre fraternity, and HScU (HSU hip-hop team). She has served in Stampede for the last three years, and she is also the general box office manager for the HSU Theatre Department.
“It is such an honor and so exciting to be nominated for homecoming court. It’s also a little surreal. Little freshman me would have never expected this. What I love most about HSU is the community. I love the fact that all kinds of different people are always walking in and out the door of our campus apartment . . . Often times theatre students leave college feeling like all they’ve done is theatre. It is such a blessing that I go to a school where I can do what I love on stage while still building meaningful relationships with faculty, staff and students from all areas of campus,” Mistrot said.