Homecoming tradition grows to Texas-size proportions

October 27, 2011 by · Comments Off 


By Shelby Foster

Girls show off their mums. (Photo by Shelby Foster/Beyond the Bubble staff)

The home of Cecilia Valudos is overrun with fake flowers, plush bears, feather boas, bells, cardboard letters, trinkets and miles of ribbon. Focused moms and timid teenage boys wander through the shelves, bins and racks, ready to consult with Valudos about creating the perfect concoction for their lucky daughters and dates.

It’s homecoming season in Colleyville, Texas, and everyone has mums on the mind. And like everything else in Texas, these mums are glitzy, sparkly, frilly, and downright enormous.

But mums weren’t always this size. In decades past, they have been a special token of a boy’s affection and were made of real chrysanthemum flowers. Only a few simple ribbons were attached.

“It was a whole different world back then,” said Debbi Mitchell, who graduated in 1975 from Killeen High School.

She explained that it was embarrassing to receive a mum from your parents, because that meant no boy wanted to take you to homecoming.

“The florist delivered them to the school that morning,” said Mitchell. “You never really knew if you were getting one or not.”

An announcement over the intercom the week of homecoming included a list of girls who were the chosen recipients.

“You felt very privileged to get one,” said Mitchell.

Today, the mums have grown to gargantuan proportions. Real chrysanthemums have been replaced by silk versions, and the parents are now the ones forking over hundreds of dollars for a mum.

Valudos, owner of C&C Floral Events has been creating mums for 14 years, and considers herself a “master mum maker,” someone who has the experience and technique it takes to create a unique product.

Because the mums can get very pricey, ranging from $200 to $700, mothers usually have to step in to help the high school boy pay for his date’s creation.

“Boys want to please the girl and try to have everything on there that represents them,” said Valudos. “Moms want it pretty and detailed but worry about the cost.”

Some of the more detailed mums can be draining to assemble. “Sometimes we have to walk away until the next day, because they have so much detail that we need to think about it,” she said.

Mums can include a plush animal (or two) dressed in a miniature version of the girls’ sports uniform, or representing any other extracurricular activities.

Valudos says that they try to match the mum to the girls’ personalities, while trying to provide the best and biggest option — some weighing up to 10 pounds.

“You have a tie that goes around your neck that keeps the mum from touching the ground but it pulls your neck down,” said Maggie Neece, who is a junior at Colleyville Heritage High School and has received a total five mums. Her collection of mums all feature a teddy bear with golf accessories, to represent her involvement on Colleyville Heritage’s golf team.

“They all try to out-do each other,” said Valudos. “The mums are trophies on the wall.”

But before the girls can tack them to their corkboards after a night of homecoming festivities, they have to get a boy.

Jared Wiegand is a sophomore at Coppell High School, and he puts more thought into his date’s mum than asking the big question.

“I normally run out of time and don’t feel like doing anything special so I just go up to the girl and ask in person,” said Wiegand. But he’s always got a beautifully crafted mum in tow.

He is the most proud of the mum for his date this year, which was made by a family friend.

“It not only had lights and a huge bear but had lots of other frou-frou stuff that made it stand out from the others,” he said.

Many schools incorporate the mums as an integral part of the homecoming tradition. But other schools, like Palmer High School, find other ways to show their school spirit.

In Palmer, a small town 30 miles south of Dallas, students look forward to the homecoming parade more than getting crafty.

Junior Reagan Mitchell reused an old silk mum in previous years, but didn’t sport one this year.

“During class, it gets annoying. I feel like I should wear one,” she said. “But I don’t want to because it gets on my nerves.”

Mitchell explained that some students do get mums, but it’s mainly girls who have been in a relationship for an extended period of time.

Delaney Wolfe is a senior at Palmer High School, and didn’t have a mum for homecoming this year either.

“I decided to make a t-shirt instead,” she said. “I mean I like mums, they’re cute, but they get in the way of my day.”

But regardless of the way they may celebrate, high schoolers across Texas look forward to homecoming as the highlight of the school year.

“It’s a tradition and I could never look at high school the same without thinking of the homecoming process,” said Wiegand.

Many wonder whether it’s even possible for the mums to get larger in coming seasons, but Valudos is certain the trend is here to stay.

“Mums are like diamonds, they can never be too big!” she said.

The Daily Update: Monday, Oct. 25

October 25, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

The Daily Update: Monday, Oct. 25 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

Find out about tornados in North East Texas this past weekend, a shooting that killed 14 people in Mexico, volcano in Indonesia that could erupt

Daily Update: Tuesday, Oct. 19

October 19, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Daily Update: Tuesday, Oct. 19 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

Join us on today’s Daily Update to catch the Rangers victory over the Yankees. Also, see what was ablaze last night at Park Cities Plaza and the weather forecast for homecoming weekend. All this and more on your Daily Update.

Community Service Day Kicks off Homecoming Week

October 18, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Caroline Foster

The flagpole was busier than usual Saturday morning as students gathered to participate in SMU’s 42nd Annual Community Service Day.

This year 25 different on-campus organizations had members participate in the event. Around 800 students volunteered at 24 various sites in the Dallas area including Garland Trash Bash, Stonewall Jackson Elementary School and the Texas Tree Foundation.

The morning’s events officially started around 10:30 a.m. with remarks made by Thomas Tunks, the Associate Provost at SMU. He asked students to raise the question, “Why am I here?”

Students came to volunteer for various reasons, but for many it was the fact that homecoming points were rewarded to participating organizations.

Students Promoting Awareness Responsibility and Citizenship, also known as SPARC, organized the event. SPARC vice-president, Lauren Michaels, explains the point system for community service day.

“Each member in an organization receives a point for their team. The point is rewarded after students complete their project.”

After the service hours are completed, Student Foundation figures out points based on the percentage of students that participated with each organization. These points are counted in the overall homecoming point total.

But whether for homecoming points or for the good of the community, students’ attitudes about serving the community were positive.

Freshman, Lauren Fann, worked as a site leader at the Stonewall Jackson Elementary School carnival with Student Leadership Fellows. She commonly participates in community service projects and enjoys seeing a difference in the community.

She thinks it’s important to have community service day because it’s good to give back. She said, “You can see a change right away.”

SPARC knows the importance of giving back to the community during the excitement of homecoming week.

Michaels said, “With all the amazing school spirit from Homecoming, it is also important that students spend time serving the community that surrounds campus. This event adds a unique dynamic to Homecoming week.”

As homecoming week officially begins, Community Service Day makes sure the organizations start the week on a positive note.

Campus News Blog: Family Weekend Wrap-Up

September 27, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Elysse Carpenter

As a predecessor of what is to come for homecoming, SMU’s Family Weekend 2010 was filled with events that drew the crowds of parents, siblings and dogs alike.

Kicking off the weekend’s festivities, the ladies of Gamma Phi Beta heated up fried frog legs for their philanthropy, Campfire USA, to get the campus in the red and blue spirit before boulevarding Iron Skillet-style. Though the Mustangs suffered a tough loss it didn’t stop the students from having a good time.

Bright and early Saturday morning, the ladies of Kappa Alpha Theta hosted their fourth annual Theta 5K that benefited Dallas CASA. Later that night, SMU’s Student Foundation hosted their annual Family Weekend Talent show at 7 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium before the sorority and fraternity open house from 10 to 11:30 p.m.

After Sunday brunches, sorority members and their mothers stopped by the Lilly Pulitzer store in NorthPark mall in support of Delta Gamma’s philanthropy Service for Sight, which benefitted from ten percent of Lilly Pulitzer’s sales on Sunday afternoon.

The arrival of fall weather and chillier temperatures was a great end to Family Weekend at SMU. With midterms right around the corner and the nice weather outside it will be even harder for students to hit the books.

However, there is never a dull moment on this campus. While the Mustangs play at Rice this weekend, some students are already starting to get ready for homecoming on Oct. 23. Expect more updates soon!

Winding Down The Year With Mane Event

April 30, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Mane Event featured booths for food, fortune tellers and caricature drawings to help students take a break before finals. (PHOTO BY NICOLETTE SCHLEISMAN / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Mane Event featured booths for food, fortune tellers and caricature drawings to help students take a break before finals. (PHOTO BY NICOLETTE SCHLEISMAN / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Nicolette Schleisman

It’s that time of year again. The semester is coming to a close, summer is just around the corner and the SMU Student Foundation put on their annual Mane Event on the Main Quad Friday afternoon.

It featured several things to do for students including: a zip line, waterslides, jousting, caricature artists, henna, fortune telling and Billy Buttons. There was also a couple of radio stations, including SMU radio, as well as food from Stromboli’s Pizza, Quesa d-ya’s, Ball’s Hamburgers, Paciugos and turkey legs. Peruna also made a festive visit to Mane Event.

It is meant to be a fun family friendly event to help students get their minds off finals for an afternoon.

SMU sophomore Katy Grossman came out to Mane Event to blow off some steam.

“It’s far enough away from finals that, it’s Friday, I want to relax, I don’t want to worry about finals,” Grossman said. “I’ll study this weekend.”

SMU freshman Thomas Griffin saw it as a celebration instead of thinking about how close finals are.

“I’m just here for fun,” Griffin said. “It’s basically my last day of class, I thought it’d be a good way to sorta celebrate.”

Student Senate for Student Foundation funds the event, which allows for all students to enjoy it with no cost.

SMU sophomore Staci Talamonti was in charge of putting on the event this year. She and a committee have been working on putting the event together since January.

“It’s basically to celebrate classes are over and give students something fun to do,” Talamonti said. “Kind of like a family friendly thing to do.”

The Student Foundation also invited the student organizations around campus to be involved for a minimum donation of $50.

Some of the organizations that were involved included the Markets and Culture Club, Delta Sigma Pi, Women’s Interest Network and the VSA Student Organization.

Clarke Mickum, a freshman member of Delta Sigma Pi, volunteered her time at the dunk tank they were sponsoring. Mickum wanted to get involved with Mane Event because she thought it would be fun.

“I have lots of friends in Student Foundation and I’m in DSP and whenever there’s an opportunity to get involved on campus, I usually take it cause it’s always fun,” Mickum said.

All Student Foundation members help out with Mane Event since it is such a large event.

Taylor Pass, SMU freshman and member of the Student Foundation, enjoyed helping to put it on this year.

“It’s just a really good way to end the year and just have everyone free food, free games, free rides and everything,” Pass said.

Pass also displayed a great interest to be on the committee next year to help put on Mane Event.

A modern dance class also decided to participate in the fun around campus, as they had their class on the quad. They brought a lot of attention and some people even crashed their class to take part in the conga drums and fun dancing.

Family Weekend and Homecoming are next on the list of events for the Student Foundation.

Students take turns going down the water slide at this year's Mane Event. (PHOTO BY NICOLETTE SCHLEISMAN / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Students take turns going down the water slide at this year's Mane Event. (PHOTO BY NICOLETTE SCHLEISMAN / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Rice at SMU, Homecoming 2009

November 8, 2009 by · Comments Off 

SMU Students Serve The Dallas Community

November 2, 2009 by · Comments Off 

By Caroline Arbaugh

“Tag, you’re it!” cried sophomore SMU student Elizabeth Banta as she tapped the back of the five year old girl at Bryan’s House, a non-profit, special-care facility for children.

The kids, delighted with the game and the new friends that had come to play with them, raced around the playground.

Banta, along with hundreds of other SMU students, participated in the 41st Annual campus-wide community service day put on by Students Promoting Awareness, Responsibility and Citizenship Saturday afternoon.

Bryan’s House was one of nearly 25 different community service programs offered for the day.

SPARC advisor Geoff Whitcomb said it was expected to be the biggest Community Service Day ever, with around 1,200 students in attendance.

Over 30 organizations including members of Greek life, religious groups, and student government joined in the activities. Each group was assigned a location to serve from 11 a.m. to 3 in the afternoon.

These philanthropies included work with senior citizens, adults and children as well as activities that involved landscaping, painting, clean-ups, and volunteering at festivals throughout Dallas, Garland and Farmers Branch.

“This day gives students a chance to go beyond themselves,” Whitcomb said. “It’s a chance to learn but also a chance to serve.”

This event also signified the beginning of Homecoming week. All of the candidates for Homecoming King and Queen shared in the event and brought members from their respective organizations to participate.

Each registered group competed for up to 325 spirit points based on the percentage of attendance from the group. Participation in Homecoming events accounts for 25 percent of a candidate’s spirit points.

Winning this furthered an organization’s chance to crown their candidate 2009 Homecoming King or Queen.

However, beyond the competitive surface the day held a sense of harmony.

“The school is unified by Community Service Day and benefits not only our campus but the community,” senior Homecoming candidate, Olivia Moretto, said.

Junior Katie Schoebel felt that amid the busy schedule of a college student this day provided an organized way to help people outside of the SMU sphere.

“It’s refreshing, even if it’s just doing something small for others,” said Schoebel.

Student Body President, Patrick Kobler said it was really nice for everyone to be able to put aside the competition and show the Dallas community that SMU is more than just students, it’s genuine citizens who care about others too.

“Even if only one person came and helped out it would have been a success,” said Kobler.

Campus News Blog: Homecoming Is Here!

October 31, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Sam Todd

It might be Halloween, but today is the official start of SMU’s Homecoming festivities, planned by SMU Student Foundation. It kicked off this morning with a community service event, and busloads of SMU students headed to a home for senior citizens, a community festival and other events around the metroplex to help out and give back to their community.

Participants in today’s event all received points that go towards their organization in the homecoming competition, which culminates in the crowning of a homecoming king and queen during the halftime ceremonies of the homecoming football game against Rice. With today’s 27-13 win over Tulsa, the Mustangs will have another shot to bring that 4-4 record over .50.

Other homecoming events taking place this week include tomorrow’s Field Day, the presentation of the candidates on Monday, the annual Homecoming College Bowl on Wednesday, 24-hour float building on Thursday, and the annual parade on the boulevard before Saturday’s game.

Don’t miss out on this week, it’s truly one of the university’s best traditions.

Police Blotter: Homecoming Edition

November 12, 2008 by · Comments Off 

Behind the Boulevard’s floats, free food and fun, it was business as usual for police.

Homecoming weekend ushered in nine underage drinking citations. Fall 2008′s tally is now 144.

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon house saw some action on Saturday. At 12:57 a.m., a window was found shattered.

Two hours later, the University Park Fire Department was called to the house when someone sprayed water on the smoke detector, shorting it out and activating the alarm. Several students were referred to the Student Conduct Officer for not evacuting during a fire alarm.

Stolen items of the weekend: soda and lingerie

On Sunday, Nov. 9, a male Aramark staff member reported a six-pack of Mr. Pibbs soda and a Victoria’s Secret nightgown stolen from his vehicle at the loading dock at 6000 Ownby (behind McElvaney Hall) at 11:36 p.m. The case is still under investigation.

Compiled by Caitlin Myers

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