SGA President Gabriella Pettijohn Crowned MSU Homecoming Queen


2022 Homecoming queen Gabriella Pettijohn stands with MSU president JuliAnn Mazachek in front of some fireworks, Oct. 28. Photo courtesy of Gabriella Pettijohn.

“I don’t want anyone to think I won because I’m the SGA President.” On Oct. 29 during half time at the homecoming football game, economics senior Gabriella Pettijohn was crowned homecoming queen.

The process of getting onto the homecoming court is quite simple; either a candidate nominates themself or is nominated by someone else. In recent years, SGA has taken over the responsibility of covering the elections, SGA is in charge of sending out the nominations, and publicizing, along with their election committee that takes care of the counting of tallies, and the qualifications.  Joseph Arthur, SGA member, and Zetta Cannedy, vice president of external affairs, were a part of the election committee that publicized the voting. Pettijhohn quickly noticed a potential issue.

“I knew that I wanted to run for it and I knew right off the bat that there could be conflict of interest. Very early on we sat down and had a conversation that I wouldn’t be touching anything having to do with the elections, I wouldn’t be touching any of it. We didn’t want anyone to think that if I did win, people would say ‘Of course she won, she’s SGA president’ I don’t think I’ve ever seen two people be so stringent. I’m pretty sure the week voting was going on they kicked me out of my office, I couldn’t even go into the SGA office. Which I appreciate it,” Pettijohn said.

This wasn’t Pettijohn’s first time running for homecoming queen, as she previously attempted to run last year but had to drop out.

“I wanted to do it last year but I ended up having to help with the elections process so I ended up dropping. I’ve always wondered if I could do it, what would happen if I ran. My biggest thing going for it was that in a few years I’d be able to tell my kids or my sister’s kid, that I was MSU’s homecoming queen. I think it is a very unique experience,” Pettijohn said, adding “I usually go for any opportunity that I see.”

In order to not have the result of homecoming queen or king be a race determined by popularity, there are several sections calculated by votes, involvement, recommendation letters and community service.

“I had all three. I have a lot of hours of community service, good recommendation letters, I have a lot of involvement here at MSU, it was more so about the votings that I wasn’t sure of. I didn’t know anything. I found out at the game, I didn’t know anything beforehand. Moments leading up to the announcement, all I could think of was my dress was tight, I was hungry, I probably needed to use the bathroom and I just remember I turned to my mom and said ‘I don’t think I won this. Everything was kept so secret, so much so that they made it even seem like I didn’t win, ’” Pettijohn said.

MSU president JuliAnn Mazachek crowned Grayson Porter as homecoming king and Diane Taylor, president of the alumni association, crowned Pettijohn’s head. Pettijohn said a session of about 30 minutes of pictures awaited her.

“I don’t think I’ve ever taken as many pictures before in my life. I’m pretty sure everyone took pictures for a straight thirty minutes. The coolest part about being crowned was that I was talking to some of my friends and some little girls came up to me, and I wasn’t able to hear them at first because I was talking to my friends and my boyfriend told me, ‘Hey, I think these little girls are trying to talk to you’ and I turned around and they came up to me and they were about five or six and just told me how they loved my dress and congratulated me and one of them told me how it was her birthday and I gave each one of them a flower from the bouquet I was given when I was crowned and that was one of my favorite moments,” Pettijohn said.

Pettijohn, who went from only being a part of SGA for two years to then becoming the new SGA president this semester, and after taking over once Austin Strode, previous president stepped down, said she hopes she was able to make herself more known within the student body.

Gabriella Pettijohn is the president of MSU's Student Government Organization, 2022. Photo courtesy of Gabriella Pettijohn.
Gabriella Pettijohn is the president of MSU’s Student Government Organization, 2022. Photo courtesy of Gabriella Pettijohn.

“I hope it made my presence more known in campus but more than anything, my biggest promotion is SGA. Winning homecoming queen or being SGA president isn’t about me at all. I’ll be gone in a year, I just want students to know they have a voice and that they can be heard and they can actually change things. Being homecoming queen is great experience and I just hope that people are able to see that and use that avenue to change something for the better, for the community, for themselves,” Pettijohn said.

Gabbie Pettijohn introduces herself as SGA's new president, Sep. 6.
Gabbie Pettijohn introduces herself as SGA’s new president, Sep. 6. (Colin Stevenson)