Homecoming’s reigning royalty Queen Rachel Gornicz and King Daniel Fenstermacher
By ANNA GILGOFF
Special to The Press
Homecoming 2020 at Northwestern Lehigh High School was like no other, but then again, nothing is quite like it used to be. And yet the queen, Rachel Gornicz, was crowned on Oct. 2, as was the king, Daniel Fenstermacher.
“I was never the person to really care about Homecoming even without COVID-19,” Gornicz said, “But I am really happy we still had it this year because we seniors don’t have a ton to look forward to. Even though it’s just a fraction of what we normally do, it does allow for us to feel normal for a bit.
“I always loved the dance and attending the game but I didn’t really think much about the court or strive to be on it.”
Gornicz is a member of the Key Club, chorus the A Cappella group, National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society and Drama Club. She is also the co-president of the Foreign Language Club.
After graduation, she plans on attending Southeastern University.
She is the daughter of Wendy and Jason, and has four siblings, Josh, Josiah, Jeremiah and Anna.
Fenstermacher’s activities include football and lacrosse and he is the vice president of the Class of 2021.
After graduation, he plans on attending Kutztown University.
The son of Steph and Tom, Fenstermacher has two siblings, Allie and Lauren.
The 16-member court also included Rachel Albright, Reagan Hernandez, Tess Ledeboer, Ali Lister, Bailey Scheffler, Lauren Schellhamer, Kylie Zentz, Andres Garrido, Nick Henry, Wyatt Ledeboer, Rafe Perich, Justin Rodda, Tyler Stasko and R.J. Zack.
Albright is the daughter of Katherine and Dan. Her activities include Aevidum, Key Club, SADD Club, and Leo Club.
She is also a member of the cheerleading squad, and track and field team. After graduation, she plans on attending college and major in child psychology.
Rodda is the son of Lisa and Jerry. His activities include Key Club, Leo Club and Aevidum. He is also a member of the football and track and field teams. After graduation, he plans on attending college.
Hernandez, the daughter of Sheri and Todd, has one sibling, Nolan. Her activities include field hockey, lacrosse, Student Council, Key Club, Leo Club, National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society and yearbook.
She is the president of the Class of 2021.
After graduation, she plans to attend Pitt majoring in biology and physical therapy.
Ledeboer, the daughter of Fran and Ted, has two siblings, Wyatt and Hayden. Her activities include National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, yearbook, Aevidum, Key Club.
She is a member of the field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse teams. After graduation, she plans on attending Temple University to major in chemistry.
Zack, the son of Julia and Randy, has two siblings, Ashlynn and Alyssa. His activities include National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Key Club and Maker Club. He is also a member of the cross-country, basketball and baseball teams. After graduation, he plans on attending college.
Lester is the daughter of Rosemarie and Andy. She has three siblings Drew, Leighanna and Daniella.
She participates in yearbook, Key Club, National Honor Society, and Science National Honor Society and is the vice president of both Student Council and Aevidum. She is also a member of the field hockey, basketball and lacrosse teams.
After graduation, she plans on attending Adelphi University to major in health sciences and continue in her basketball career.
Perich is the son of Becky and Josh.
He is a member of the Tiger baseball team. After graduation, he plans on attending Lehigh University to major in business.
Schellhamer is the daughter of Luann and Scott. Her activities include yearbook, Key Club, National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society.
She is also a member of the field hockey, track and field and lacrosse teams. After graduation, she plans on attending the University of Vermont where she will major in biology and continue her field hockey career.
Wyatt Ledeboer, the son of Fran and Ted, has two siblings, Tess and Hayden.
His activities include being a member of the football, baseball, track and field, and basketball teams. He is also a peer tutor. After graduation, he plans on attending Temple University to major in biology.
Zentz is the daughter of Amy and Jeff. She has three siblings Avrie, Carter and Lexie.
She participates in Key Club and is also a member of the soccer and softball teams. After graduation, she plans on attending college to major in biology.
Henry is the son of Judy and Mark. He has one sibling, Sarah. His activities include Key Club, National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, and Maker Club. He is also a member of the football, basketball and baseball teams. After graduation, he plans on attending college to major in engineering.
“The Homecoming Court was presented at halftime during the football game on Oct. 2,” said class adviser Lissa Opolsky. “Students could not attend the game but were able to livestream it from the school’s YouTube account.
“The king and queen were announced just like they normally are. however, this year they crowned themselves.”
Last year’s king and queen were not present to pass on the baton.
“Socially distant guidelines were used for walking and positioning on the field,” Opolsky said.
The court wore masks throughout the ceremony, except for a few seconds for photos.
Though the usual celebrations were halted, members of the court still found alternate ways to mark Homecoming in the age of a pandemic.
“I’m planning to celebrate with my friends this year,” said Gornicz before the game. “I’m going over to my friend Kelsea’s house after halftime to watch the rest of the game with my best friends.
“My parents, however, are gonna stay in the stadium to watch my brother, Josiah, play the rest of the game.”
Others were a little wary of overt celebrations.
“There’s really not much celebrating that can be done because it is during COVID and we want our field hockey season to last, so we are trying to stay as safe as possible to finish our season,” Hernandez said.
Learning he had been voted to the court was more low key for Garrido.
“I didn’t necessarily celebrate but my family members and friends congratulated me on it,” he said.
The son of Connie and Tomas, he has two siblings, Annaliese and Alaina.
He participates in the Aevidum Club and is a member of the football, basketball and track teams.
After graduation, he will attend college where he will major in environmental science and fisheries biology.
The court was selected by the students.
“They voted on a Google form, which is similar to previous years,” Opolsky said.
Stasko said COVID-19 definitely had an impact on Homecoming Court.
“I feel as if it is sort of watered down because nobody was able to attend the football game or to even have a dance for that matter,” he said.
Stasko, the son of Kim and George, has one sibling, Austin.
His activities include Science Olympiad, Student Council, Leo Club, National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society.
He is also a member of the golf and baseball teams. After graduation, he plans on attending college to major in mechanical engineering.
Even with the restrictions, Homecoming still has significance for the class.
“I think that it still matters under these circumstances,” Scheffler said.
“Although this year will not nearly be the same as previous years, everyone who has organized this event has done everything they could in order to make it as normal as possible. It definitely wasn’t the same at the game but it’s better than having nothing.
“As I’m sure many people feel, any motion of normalcy is a relief. With everything happening, we have strayed so far from a ‘normal’ senior year, it is definitely refreshing to keep a tradition like this, where all seniors can take part in the voting and excitement of choosing a king and queen.”
Scheffler, the daughter of Rachael and Jay, has one sibling, Gracie. Her activities include Key Club, Leo Club, yearbook, National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, soccer, and lacrosse.
She is also president of Student Council.
After graduation, Bailey plans to attend college to major in biology.
Tradition has always been a feature of normal life and it often provides comfort.
“I think the Homecoming Court is an important event during COVID times because our senior class has gotten a lot taken away from us,” Hernandez said. “This gives us a sense of normalcy and lets us be a part of some traditions when we have gotten a lot taken away from us due to COVID.”
Lister said with the disappointment of not being able to host a Homecoming Dance this year, she was grateful the school still coordinated a Homecoming Court.
“Thank you to all teachers, administrators and coaches for going to extreme lengths to provide the best educational opportunities in a year of unforeseen circumstances,” she said, “And, thank you to all my senior classmates for selecting me to be on the court.”
Schellhamer said the Homecoming Court matters during COVID-19 times because it is a tradition that everyone looks forward to every year.
“We need to keep the tradition alive and implicate some sort of normalcy in our lives again,” Schellhamer said.
Garrido focused on the tradition of Homecoming.
“I believe the Homecoming Court and king and queen still means something because the queen and king still have to come back next year and hand the crown to the new winner,” said Garrido. “It is always a tradition and it is nice to have something semi-normal this school year.”
There was no Homecoming Dance but the prospect of having one is not off the table.
“If restrictions are lifted in the future, it can be a talking point and decision for a later date,” Opolsky said.
Even with restrictions, remnants of the past surfaced.
“We introduced the court and crowned the king and queen at halftime, but much more than that, this pandemic simply didn’t allow for,” said Jason Zimmerman, athletic director. “That said, we are extremely excited to at least have provided our senior class with the opportunity to elect a court and select their king and queen.”