With talented contestants and a powerful sense of school spirit, this year’s Homecoming royalty pageant searched for the best and brightest to represent the University of Miami and what it means to be a ‘Cane. With new changes implemented by the Homecoming Executive Committee (HEC) to change the winning title to Royalty from King and Queen, the changes in the pageant promoted inclusivity and encouraged all students to participate.
“Changing the name from King and Queen to Royalty still honors the tradition of having four well-rounded, amazing, representatives of the University of Miami,” HEC chair Meera Patel said.
After an exciting competition the final four were selected. In fourth place representing the Association of Commuter Students (ACS) was junior Noah Lapaix. Following him in third place is senior Kianna Dorsey representing the United Black Students (UBS). In second place, Rachel Dionne Bergeron was crowned as an independent competitor. In first place, senior Tatiana Robinson, representing the UBS, was crowned Homecoming Royalty.
From talent showcases of song and dance to questions testing poise and character, 12 contestants competed for the title. After a round of skits and talents where contestants had to work together to write a skit portraying University of Miami values and the Homecoming theme, the panel of judges narrowed the twelve contestants to a final eight. These final eight were then lined up in formal attire and asked questions regarding their values, character and connection to the U.
Tatiana Robinson, first place Royalty winner, is a senior triple majoring in interactive media, broadcast journalism and communications studies on the public advocacy track. Representing UBS, Robinson hoped to do everything in her power to have an involvement-packed senior year at UM, while doing something she never thought she’d be able to do.
“I simply just wanted to have fun,” Robinson said. “I’m proud to be at this institution and it’s an honor and pleasure to represent the U.”
Outgoing and fond of networking, Robinson encapsulates those unique qualities that attract others to the University of Miami. UBS is proud to uphold a safe space that Robinson and many others call home, encouraging any and all to learn about Black culture. As the executive producer for UMTV’s The Culture, a show by Black students for Black students, Robinson continues to amplify the message UBS promotes.
As pageant royalty, Robinson sends a message of encouragement to her peers.
“Be yourself and find your people,” Robinson said. “College can be difficult if you’re not yourself. It’s okay to be you and have fun.”
Second place winner Rachel Dionne Bergeron has always wanted to compete in a pageant. Bergeron is currently a senior studying biochemistry and nutrition with a minor in graphic design. Bergeron competed in the pageant independently.
“My mom was the homecoming queen and so was my sister,” Bergeron said. “They encouraged me to apply but I was so hesitant.”
Competing for royalty was a point on her bucket list she never thought she would achieve. Bergeron eventually applied for the Homecoming Royalty Pageant with immense encouragement from the strong friendships she had built during her time at UM. Bergeron’s love for the university translates into her many activities on campus.
Bergeron can usually be seen head to toe in UM gear giving tours to families while raving about her love for the U. Now representing the university as Homecoming Royalty, Bergeron hopes to set an example of good character and poise.
“I hope to pour back into the younger generation and prepare them to leave their mark on campus,” Bergeron said.
Kianna Dorsey is a senior studying film production. Representing UBS, Dorsey was crowned third place in the Homecoming Royalty Pageant. Dorsey had always wanted to compete in the pageant since attending for the first time her freshman year. With a little encouragement from her close friends, she submitted the application.
“I loved seeing everyone have fun and doing what they love on stage,” Dorsey said. “I made a vow to myself to compete my senior year.”
In the talent round of the competition Dorsey took a unique approach. During preparation she struggled to think of a way to portray her passions and personality given the brevity of the on-stage performance. After much consideration and some inspiration from Beyonce, she decided to blend her interests and involvements in stepping, film production and storytelling into an engaging performance to show her peers what she was passionate about.
Dorsey has left her mark on campus by excelling in the many positions she has held at UM. As a current member of Delta Kappa Alpha, the pre-professional film fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha, her sorority, Dorsey is constantly reflecting the University of Miami motto, “Canes Care for ‘Canes.”
“Go outside your comfort zone,” Dorsey said. “Because that’s how you get comfortable with being uncomfortable and that’s what life is about.”
Representing ACS, Noah Lapaix, a senior studying psychology and sociology, received the fourth place award in the Homecoming Royalty Court. Lapaix has taken many service positions on campus, including Great Start staff member, ACS Community Service Outreach Chair and a Public Health Ambassador during the pandemic. In these roles Lapaix illustrates character traits of service and encouragement.
“At first, I wanted to contribute to the efforts from my organization to win the homecoming competition,” Lapaix said. “Then I wanted to represent a community at UM that doesn’t get the recognition it should. As a minority student I am proud to be a part of this year’s all Black homecoming court.”
Through his new title as pageant royalty, Lapaix hopes to encourage those around him to go for things they wouldn’t ordinarily envision themselves in the running for. Recently Lapaix has served at Silent Victims of Crime, a non-profit organization, providing support for children with incarcerated parents.
Lapaix takes the advice he gives these children to heart. He encourages them that they are capable of achieving great things. Pushing past his comfort zone, Lapaix says he is proud to represent his community and all that it means to be a ‘Cane.