Here's a school memory submitted by Kelly...
I still have my cheesy cardboard crown from when I was voted Homecoming Queen. You'll probably say who wouldn't save their crown if they were voted homecoming queen, but it really stood for more to me.
I graduated from a high school in a small town here in NJ. There were under 100 kids in my graduating class. With the exception of 4 years, I went to this school district and grew up with my classmates. I was NOT popular. I was picked on mercilessly (or at least what I felt was mercilessly) in elementary school because I had scoliosis and walked funny and I had big feet. I moved away, and then back again for high school and was petrified that the teasing would just begin again. It didn't, I just kind of blended in and that was that. I went to the Homecoming dance my junior year with my boyfriend, and it was fine, but when I was a senior I told my new boyfriend from a different HS (now my husband) that I didn't want to go. I said, "The only way we are going is if I get nominated Queen." He said, "Oh-I guess we're not going." LOL. Even he knew how it was and he didn't go to school with me. I was not the girl to get nominated for this. At this point, I wasn't an outcast, but I was definately not the captain of the cheerleading squad or the really pretty girl in the 90210 clique who both were always nominated for these things and won for the past 3 years. Well, imagine my surprise when they announced the nominees over the loudspeaker and my name was one of them. I could not believe it. I called my boyfriend and told him it looked like we would have to go to homecoming. He said, "Get the hell out of here!" He didn't believe it either. My friends were excited, but I was waiting for the punchline.
I went to the dance and waited anxiously for the announcement. Our school announced the winners at the dance, not the football game. Good thing, because I played the clarinet in the marching band so I would have had to be playing at half-time. See why I didn't think I'd be nominated? Who nominates the clarinet player in the marching band who is on the National Honor Society????
They finally got everybody organized and made the announcement and TA-DA, they announced that I had won. I was the Homecoming Queen. I went up to the stage to collect my crown, and for a quick second glanced toward the ceiling looking for the bucket of pig's blood (think the movie Carrie). I still remember walking through the crowd and hearing a classmate-Ricky was his first name (I remember his last but won't give it away)-say, "I want a re-count!" THAT I expected. But it didn't matter. It's so silly now, but it felt like "One small step for me; one giant leap for had been shell dwellers and girls who never felt good enough."
The pain of getting picked on when I was little had long since subsided by the time I was awarded my crown, but it was always in my mind that I could be a target at any minute. When they announced my name, that feeling disappeared. The majority of people there didn't feel like Ricky did, so yeah-I still have that crown.
Great story Kelly, thanks for sharing!