10/31/11 Local woman crowned homecoming queen — twice

Derrica Barbee was crowned homecoming queen as a senior at Southern Alamance in 2008, left, and again as a senior this year at Wake Forest University, along with Homecoming King Roman Nelson.

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Derrica Barbee was crowned homecoming queen as a senior at Southern Alamance in 2008, left, and again as a senior this year at Wake Forest University, along with Homecoming King Roman Nelson.

Local woman crowned homecoming queen — twice
By Molly McGowan The Times-News 10/31/11     
Reprinted with permission.

   Everyone makes a difference in this world. But every once in a while, there’ll be a person who makes such a big difference in the lives of so many people, she just has to be publicly recognized. Meet 21-year-old Derrica Barbee, whose effervescent joy and helpfulness spread across both her high school and college campuses, winning her the title of homecoming queen at each.

   Barbee knows being crowned homecoming queen just once is an honor. “Your high school is telling you, ‘We really like you … all four years, and this is how we’re going to show it,’” she said. That was the case Barbee’s senior year at Southern Alamance High School in 2008.

   “She was on homecoming court everyyear,”saidBarbee’s mother, Angela Hurdle. That’s because Barbee was in several organizations at school, including student government, band, color guard, served as president of the Afro-American Club, manager of the women’s basketball team, and had a school spirit award named after her.

   She was the one who pumped up the crowd at football games, Hurdle said. “The drum line, at the end, they knew she was going to go off,” and would move so Barbee could do her thing and spread her school spirit.

   But then this year, Barbee again took the coveted title, this time at Wake Forest University — a much larger campus, with many more eligible young women. Hurdle said Barbee knew as much, and told her that while it’d be nice to take the crown, she was up against a lot of other good young women.

   “It’s an honor to even make it on court,” Barbee said of homecoming court in college. She explained the difference between college and high school homecoming courts is largely based on the sheer size of the student body, and thus the number of qualified individuals.

   In high school, Barbee said, “You get elected by your student body.” Representatives from each grade level are chosen for homecoming court, and from there, the whole school votes on which senior girl wins queen. And that tends to breed competition.

   “It was very different in high school,” Barbee said. “You can be friends throughout the whole four years,” but come senior year, “The stakes were a little higher,” she said. “Homecoming in high school was a big deal.”

   That’s not to say homecoming isn’t a big deal in college. On the contrary, Barbee said at this year’s homecoming football game against Virginia Tech, thousands packed the stadium. “There was not (an empty) seat in the stadium,” she said. “They put a cap on the number of students to come in.”

   So, college alumni deem homecoming weekend just as important as high-schoolers do, if not more so. However, choosing a homecoming king and queen in college is a longer process, what with the larger class sizes and nomination method.

   Instead of being picked by one’s class, members of the homecoming court at Wake Forest are nominated by a group or organization on campus that feels a person best represents the university’s ideals. From there, Barbee said, there are two voting rounds and the top 11 people make it onto the court. The king and queen are picked from there.

   Just like in high school, Barbee is into everything atWake Forest, making her an obvious choice for court nomination. “I know everyone at Wake — it’s only because I’m over-involved,” Barbee said, laughing.

   She’s double-majoring in communications and mathematics with a minor in entrepreneurship, and is a resident advisor for freshmen, a supervisor for intramural sports, co-chair of the school’s 1834 Campaign for student giving, a Young Life leader in the Forsyth County community, and active in the Wake Forest University Gospel Choir and Chi Omega sorority.

   The last two organizations are the ones that nominated Barbee for homecoming court this year, even though they knew the other was nominating her. Barbee told the Gospel Choir that they could take her name off the ballot since she was already being nominated by Chi Omega, but they kept her on, since they valued her experience and dedication.

   Barbee has been in the Gospel Choir since her freshman year, and served as director part of that time. Current president Jarrett Stephens said the choir nominated Barbee because she’s so involved at concerts, gets her friends — which is practically the whole campus — to come to events, and represents the student body well.

   “We knew that she’d represent Wake Forest well,” Stephens said. “Derrica is an allaround great person. If you don’t know Derrica, you’re missing out.”

   Barbee said she couldn’t believe she was once again chosen to represent a student body, and wear the crown of homecoming queen. She thinks it means she’s been able to be a friend to so many. Her mom thinks it bodes well for her daughter’s future.

   “It says that Derrica’s blessed,” said Hurdle. “Derrica’s destined for great things.”