Paige Olson was smiling, but her lips wouldn't stop quivering out of sheer nervousness when she suddenly felt the pressure of the Brainerd High School homecoming crown being placed on her head by former queen Macala Campbell.
The crowd screamed.
Her mom cried. So did dad.
And the 17-year-old became the latest generation in her royal family to participate in a homecoming coronation.
Olson's parents, Ty and Lisa (Sievek) Olson, were both BHS homecoming candidates; Ty in 1985 and Lisa in 1987. Lisa's mother, Karen (Swanson) Everson, of Boston, Mass., also was a BHS homecoming candidate and Lisa's grandfather, Don Sievek, Brainerd, was a homecoming king in Bemidji.
"I kind of have a line of royal candidates in my family so it was exciting to be part of that," said Paige Olson.
"I just couldn't believe it," said Lisa Olson, of her daughter being crowned Monday night. "I was extremely proud. As a mother, obviously you're so proud. She's been having a great year all around with athletics and school. She's a dedicated student and well liked by her peers and her teachers. Of course the teachers come up and tell you what an incredible child you have and it just makes me glow. It's neat to see your children succeed. That's why you have them."
But Paige's homecoming coronation wasn't quite the spectacle that her mom's high school coronation was back in 1987. Lisa Olson can now laugh about her time on stage during homecoming coronation but it's taken years to get over it.
Lisa had broken her leg in the powder puff football game during homecoming week her senior year and was in a cast and on crutches during coronation. Back then the homecoming court had to sit in chairs on a platform on stage. Unbeknownst to Lisa and other queen candidates, the chairs had been pulled back so candidates could walk behind them, resulting in a few of the chairs' legs being left to dangle precariously off the platform, including the chair Lisa sat in.
She sat down and went flying backward off the platform, taking another queen candidate down with her as she fell on the stage floor. Her broken leg hit the stage when she fell and she split her dress up the back. For the rest of the homecoming festivities that week, Lisa was forced to ride in a wheelchair.
"It was just quite the year," said Lisa with a laugh. "At the time it was extremely embarrassing, but now it's funny."
Now some of Lisa's friends are calling her the queen mother. Paige's crowning moment this week gave her parents the opportunity to relive their own homecoming experiences, sharing stories about their own classmates.
Homecoming was all the more special for Paige because her boyfriend of 2-1/2 years, Joey Anhalt, was crowned homecoming king minutes before her crowning. Coincidentally, Joey's dad, Jeff Anhalt, also was a BHS homecoming candidate.
"It was like a fairy tale," said Paige's mom, Lisa, who happened to be dating her husband when they were both homecoming candidates themselves. "They've been together for close to three years. It was really neat."
Paige said this entire week has been exciting. A few of her former elementary and junior high teachers have sent her notes, congratulating her and telling her how special she is.
"It's really nice to hear those things, especially from adults because then you understand you were picked for a reason, that everyone respects you and your personality and who you are as a person," said Paige.
Paige said she is undecided as to what college she will attend next year but plans to go into pre-med. Anhalt is interested in the University of Minnesota and would like to major in engineering, she said.
While they may be BHS's royal couple this week, Paige said they only feel like royalty when they have their crowns on.
"Otherwise, we're just a normal couple," said Paige with a laugh. "It was fun."
Paige said she's hoping someday her future children will carry on the family tradition of being named to a homecoming court. She does have a younger brother, Drew, 15, and a sister, Hallsey, 14, who may follow in her footsteps as well.
"It's an honor," said Paige, of being crowned.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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