From Temple’s largest “T” cake to the pep rally and BBQ, students were getting increasingly excited last week for the big Homecoming game versus the University of South Florida on Saturday, Oct. 6. But Thomas Green and Ariel Peredo added a bit of nervousness to their excitement. After weeks of campaigning and stepping outside of their comfort zones, they were crowned Homecoming King and Queen.
Green didn’t even think he’d initially run for Homecoming King, but with support from his friends, he decided he’d try it anyway.
“I still had this driving ambition to make a difference,” Green said.
Peredo, however, knew running for Homecoming Queen was a perfect way to start off her senior year.
“I really wanted to do something to show my Temple pride and also leverage my connections. I wanted to get people hyped for Homecoming, and I knew this was a great way to do it. It felt right,” she said.
The senior management information systems major was already highly involved in the community, and thought the title of Homecoming Queen would give her the extra leg up to help out as many people as she can.
During the campaign, the nerves got the best out of both candidates, especially for Green. He put himself out there as much as possible and decided that though he’d be completely stepping out of his comfort zone by approaching random strangers, it was necessary, he said. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t moments where he felt like quitting.
“I learned how to cope with people, and rejection and rudeness. I also learned a lot about myself. I looked at it as a way to face my fears, which was the main reason I decided to run,” Green said.
Peredo had difficulty going up to strangers as well, even though she considers herself an extrovert. She said she had the hardest time dealing with the question, “Why should I vote for you?”
“I don’t want to sit here and read you off my résumé,” Peredo said.
When their names were announced at the game on Saturday, both students said they were excited. Green’s friends, however, pointed out that he didn’t look as thrilled as they expected him to be on camera.
“I still have to fulfill all the promises I made, so it wasn’t matter of celebrating, it’s now a matter of doing,” Green said.
However, Peredo said the week was full of celebration, especially considering in addition to Homecoming, it was also her birthday weekend.
“[Winning] made me feel sort of like a celebrity,” she said. “I don’t do things to get recognition. I do things because I’m passionate for them, so it was a great feeling to be on the field while my family and friends were there watching.”
Both Green and Peredo plan to use their new title to their advantage especially in the community and education. Green is the director of external affairs at Babel, as well as Main Campus Program Board.
In the future, he wants to perform plays for students in the area, and integrate poetry as a bigger part of lesson plans, he said.
“I want them to know poetry isn’t just the boring stuff we have to read — it’s a way to express yourself,” Green said.
Peredo is executive embassador of the Associaton of Information Systems and an intern for Teach for America. She also works in the Fox Center for Undergraduate Advising as a peer advisor. With her crown, Peredo wants to continue showing Temple pride by attending games and getting students excited to be part of the university, she said. She plans to collaborate with Youth Action, a student-run minority organization, with Media Meltdown Productions to put on talent productions in local schools. As a product of the Philadelphia public school system, education is extremely important to her.
“I’m one of many success stories. There’s a lot of diamonds here, and I know that’s cliché. But I’m one of those people that’s really going hard, doing a lot of great things. I want to encourage people to get involved and advocate success,” Peredo said.
Though their current weekend has been chaotic, the two are already planning something together. Both feel as though college should be advocated earlier rather than later in high school years, and would love to host group tours for middle schoolers.
But, before they can start any of their planned projects, the first duty of the two students is to decide which charity to donate the collected T-shirts from the “Tees for Temple U” event.
Patricia Madej can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.