Students from Ridge House cheer after winning a relay race held during the pep rally Friday.

Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

The Hayes High School student body gathered Friday at the end of the school day to cap off Spirit Week and crown its Homecoming royalty.

At the rally, seniors Rosemary Cranston and Grant LaMar were crowned Homecoming royalty, which came as a shock to both of them.

“(It’s) completely unexpected!” Cranston said after being crowned. “Honestly, I love being a Pacer, and I love Delaware and Hayes and everything. I just couldn’t be more proud to represent Hayes.”

LaMar said he was feeling confident when he had asked people to vote for him earlier this week, but he started to get nervous as Friday approached.

“I’ve been nervous for the past two days,” LaMar said. “I feel like I’ve done a lot of different activities in high school, and I always wanted to do it since freshman year but never got a chance. I thought, ‘I’m a senior now, I might as well go for it.’”

Cranston is a member of National Honor Society, the Hayes orchestra, the pit orchestra for musicals, and plays on the tennis team at Hayes. Last semester, Cranston was part of the group of students who were invited to NASA’s Johnson Space Center as part of an app development challenge.

Cranston said recognition from her peers enhances her sense of belonging for her last year at Hayes.

“I wouldn’t consider myself super popular, but I am involved in a lot of extracurriculars,” Cranston said. “I’m really shocked. I’m surprised and really happy about it. I did not realize my name was so well known. I’m shocked. It makes me feel like a senior.”

LaMar is one of the drum majors of the Grand Pacer Marching Band and captain of the tennis team, in addition to co-hosting the school’s podcast and doing theater. He said the crown makes him happy but doesn’t change how he feels about his fellow students.

“I won’t see myself better than anybody,” LaMar said. “I’ll be happier going throughout the school day. I’ve made my place at Hayes. I’m really happy. It’s another goal.”

The rally also included a relay race competition between the houses at Hayes. During the competition, teams of students from each house had to skip through a Hula-Hoop, run in high heels, sprint in football gear, carry a drum and do the limbo. Ridge House blazed through the race and took the top spot, earning cheers from Ridge students in the stands.

Vice Principal Rex Reeder said the relay race and other house engagement at the event has improved the attitude at the school.

“It’s made an impact,” Reeder said. “You can see the positivity and the energy. There was energy up there. I think if they’re not in houses, you don’t get that all the time. We want to include everyone. That brings a nice element to Homecoming. It should be about all students not just a few.”

Reeder said the race is not factored into the battle for the House Cup but said the first events in that competition will be held next week.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903.