By Christopher Smith
Neither of them expected it, they said.
Stacked up against a group of candidates they thought might be more popular than themselves meant the surprise of being chosen was all that much sweeter. Malaka Awad and Russell Smith, two seniors at Dalton State College, were selected by the student body to be the first Dalton State homecoming queen and king in 30 years.
The homecoming program was restored alongside the men’s college basketball program this year. Awad and Smith were named queen and king during half-time at the Roadrunners basketball game against Allen University at the trade center Saturday.
Russell Smith couldn’t help crying when asked how he felt about the honor.
“I’m just so lucky, man, really lucky,” he said. “I’m really lucky to be here this school year. It’s awesome, man. I’m really lucky to have classmates who thought of me. It’s a really big deal for me. Being the first the king in school’s history — it’s just really special. So I’m really proud.”
Awad wasn’t even sure how to respond at first.
“Oh my gosh! I feel very — I don’t know! I really wasn’t excepting it,” she said. “There’s a lot of cheerleaders that are really popular at the school. So I wasn’t expecting it at all. I couldn’t be happier right now. I feel like the student body really loves me. It’s great. I do a lot of school work and school activities so I feel like people noticed me and that’s really nice. People actually see what you’re doing.”
Awad is president of Dalton State’s International Club, public relations officer for Pre-Health Professionals and secretary of the International Education Committee. Smith is president of the student body and a member of the college’s first fraternity, Alpha Kappa Lambda.
Katherine Fromm was named homecoming princess, while Miles Thomas was named homecoming prince. Both were equally as shocked as Awad and Smith.
“I don’t know what to say,” Fromm said. “Thank you to all my fellow roadrunners. It’s an honor. I feel really excited. Thank you to everyone. Thank you so much.”
Thomas said being chosen as prince was “just awesome.”
“It was just really unexpected,” he said. “I’m so glad that have friends around here.”
Fromm, a junior, is from Gordon County and serves as a senator on the Student Advisory Council. Thomas, also a junior, is from Catoosa County and is a member of the Pre-Health Professionals.