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A tale of two queens

Two Alpha Kappa Alphas earn Homecoming crowns

Alex Holly and Lauren Grant

Lauren Grant, BA ’11, and Alex Holley, BJ ’11, celebrate after the 2010 Homecoming game. Photo courtesy of Lauren Grant

For the seven sorority sisters in Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Mizzou chapter, Homecoming 2010 was surreal. Despite the small size of the historically black Greek organization, two of its members were crowned queen at Homecoming: Alex Holley, BJ ’11, was named the 2010 campuswide Homecoming queen, and Lauren “Lo” Grant, BA ’11, was honored as queen of the Legion of Black Collegians’ Black Homecoming Court.

Holley and Grant, both from Dallas, continued their friendship at Mizzou, where they quickly became involved in campus organizations and took leadership roles. Becoming queen, however, was a different path for each.

In the 1980s, the Legion of Black Collegians created a court to recognize black student leaders. The court faded away in the mid-1990s and returned in 2008. After a process involving interviews, community service projects and campaigning for student elections, Grant was named queen at the Legion of Black Collegians Homecoming Ball at Stoney Creek Inn Oct. 21.

“Being crowned was the icing on top of an already perfect week,” Grant says. “Just to know that your peers value you enough to have you as their representative is an honor.”

Meanwhile, Holley had made it through a series of interviews, landing her a spot on the campus Homecoming Top 10 royalty. The honor came with the responsibility to attend various Homecoming events. She recalls sitting through the talent competition one night and then immediately heading to KOMU to work an overnight shift. The sleep-deprived Holley pulled through — with the help of a Route 44-sized soda and Homecoming adrenaline.

“I had never seen the talent show and all the competition that goes into it, so it was really exciting for me to see a different side of Homecoming,” she says. “There was never a dull moment. It was a continuous rush for a month.”

Holley was crowned queen during halftime of the Homecoming game Oct. 23. Making the moment even more memorable were grand marshal Russ Mitchell, BJ ’82, a broadcasting figure Holley admires; KOMU anchors, who greeted her on the field; and Vivian King, BJ ’87, queen of the first black couple to be crowned Mizzou Homecoming royalty. Outside the stadium, Holley gathered around her AKA sisters as they sang their national hymn.

“I have never screamed, cried or been more excited,” Grant says of learning that Holley had been named queen. “Our Alpha Kappa Alpha unofficial call is ‘skee wee,’ so we said we did a ‘skee sweep’ for Homecoming. Not to boast or brag, but we were extremely happy.”

Holley describes it as an AKA takeover. “We never thought we’d get both queens,” she says. “We’re a very small organization on campus, but because of the principles we stand on, we were able to achieve great things.”

Holley and Grant embrace the traditional events that have become iconic to Mizzou Homecoming while also enjoying the cultural and social festivities of Black Family Reunion.

“Different people have different ways of connecting to the university and showing their spirit,” Holley says. “Homecoming has something for everyone.”

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