By SARAH DEASON smd025@latech



In a stadium filled with screaming Bulldog fans and anxious friends and family, Blair Bahlinger, a senior speech major, was crowned Homecoming Queen and Klark Kent, a senior professional aviation major, was named Top Escort.

Bahlinger reacted with a surreal sense of surprise, because she never considered herself in such a position.

“[I was] so surprised; it was a very different feeling,” Bahlinger said.

“It was neat feeling the student body support.”

Kent was surprised just to be selected at the beginning of the elimination process.

“It was a real honor to be selected,” Kent said. “I am really happy and excited to represent Tech as Top Escort.”

The half-time ceremony at the Homecoming Game last Saturday engendered a sense of honor and pride, Bahlinger said.

“It was such an honor being on the field, surrounded by cheering people,” she said.

“I was overwhelmed with excitement.”

Lindsay Mencacci, Student Government Association president and a senior biology major, who was on the Homecoming court, said she also felt proud as a member of the court.

“I felt honored by my family who made a very long trip to see the ceremony,” Mencacci said. “The coolest part about the presentation was the students’ reactions -- a really good feeling.”

Bahlinger and Mencacci felt especially honored because the selection process at Tech is unique to most universities.

“In most schools, Homecoming court is a contest of popularity,” Mencacci said. “Tech’s awesome selection process puts students on the Homecoming Court who really care and are dedicated to our school.”

Bahlinger attributes that outcome to the innovated, four-step selection process.

“Certain campus organizations nominate one male and one female based on a point system,” Bahlinger said. “Scoring is based on things like [grade point average] or involvement in campus organizations.”

Those organizations then narrow the nominations down to 24 males and 24 females.

“The third step in the process involves a board of faculty members that will narrow the nominations to 12 males and 12 females,” Bahlinger said. “The final stage that determines the queen is a student body vote.”

Kent said he felt especially honored because the selection process is so thorough.

Caleb Nelson, a senior finance major, views the new selection process as a progressive step for academics.

“Personality can be as important as integrity or academic standing, which is why the new system is balanced by a final student vote,” Nelson said.

“But the faculty review and point systems improve the school by honoring students who are dedicated to it.”

Mencacci believes Bahlinger is an appropriate queen in light of the selection process.

“Blair is a very down-to-earth, respectable person,” Mencacci said.

She added, “The student body can look to her and the court as role models.”