Florida A&M University Developmental Research School kicked off its homecoming festivities at the 65th Coronation Ceremony on Oct. 20, Jefferson Walker and Kennede Sapp were crowned as the 13th Mister and 65th Miss FAMU DRS in Lee Hall Auditorium.
Walker, a senior at DRS has attended the school from kindergarten to 12th grade. He has been on the court all four years of high school, serving as a Royal Escort and as the Senior Class Vice President. Walker is currently dual enrolled at Lively Technical Center, completing his certification in the Nursing Assistant Program.
“After four years of seeing each of my royal brothers being crowned and taking the throne as Mister FAMU DRS, I watched and listened very attentively and learned a lot more than anyone could have ever taught me,” Walker said. “I realized it’s not just about the power, the crown, the sash, nor the benefits of the title, but to cherish this opportunity and deem it my responsibility to speak, protect, and love.”
Sapp and Walker were elected by the students of FAMU DRS in the sixth through 12th grades.
Roger Walker, DRS Administrator and Royal Court Advisor was the Master of Ceremonies. He introduced the Royal Court, Royal Ambassadors, and other coronation guests and participants.
The ceremony proceeded with the kings and queens from each class. Kindergarten to 12th grade students walked down the aisle of Lee Hall, followed by the representatives from all of DRS athletics and organizations.
The Royal Court Attendants, who wore black and green gowns, and were the Queen of Orange and Green Zoie White, Miss Senior Attendant Jania Merritt, Miss Junior Attendant India McCary, Miss Sophomore Attendant Charnell Tucker and Miss Freshman Attendant Terryn Edwards.
The Royal Court Escorts, who wore tuxedos, were the King of Orange & Green Jalen Randolph, Mister Tyrec Baker, Mister Darnell Brown, Mister Jordan Jenkins, and Mister Anthony Kenion.
The Royal Adornments were held during the ceremony by The Royal Kindergarten students.
Sapp, who began her journey at DRS in the sixth grade, comes from a long lineage of DRS Alumni, as well as, DRS Royalty. She served as Miss Freshman Attendant 2015-2016, as well as serving as a delegate and representative in the DRS Student Government Association. She is also a member of the varsity volleyball, varsity cheer, and varsity flag football team.
Sapp was at a brief lost for words as it was apparent that she was actually living out a dream come true. She also told her story of why and how she became Miss FAMU DRS.
“A dream is a wish your heart makes, and my dream became not only my reality, but also a legacy that I am so blessed to be a part of,” Sapp said. “I was always with my aunt, who was always helping Mr. Walker with the Royal Court, therefore I was able to be in the presence of so many past Miss FAMU DRS’s as well as class queens, and being around to see them represent so elegantly year after year ignited an ambition within me, and I knew that one day I wanted to be that queen as well.”
After Mister and Miss FAMU DRS gave their speeches, they were saluted in song by FAMU DRS alumna, James Tellis, who sang “Heaven” by Jamie Foxx. They were saluted in dance by The FAMU DRS Legacy Dance Team who were met with a standing ovation after their inaugural coronation performance to Beyonce’s “I was Here.”
The Ceremony began to wrap up with closing remarks and presentations of gifts for the King and Queen from the secondary principal, Pink Hightower, Ph.D. Interim Superintendent, Kirk Gavin Ph.D., gave a thunderous rendition of the “Baby Rattler” Rattler Charge.
Following the ceremony there was a Coronation Ball held at the FAMU DRS Cafe, where music was played, and food was served for the students, faculty, and guests of the King and Queen.
FAMU DRS senior and Homecoming King Xavier Nelson enjoyed the coronation ceremony.
“Honestly coronation was pretty good, the crowd and participants were beautiful,” Nelson said. “I believe FAMU DRS put together a great coronation and I will be attending again next year.”
The 65th Coronation Ceremony served as an epic beginning to what students hope to be an epic homecoming week, themed: “Experience ‘The High,’ FAMU DRS Period.”