Hickman queen contest inspires service
By Catherine Martin
Monday, October 8, 2012
Hickman High School homecoming queen candidate Anna Remus Tamerius, right, reads with a resident of Coyote Hill children’s home on Sept. 27. Anna chose to represent Coyote Hill for the Hickman homecoming charity drive and decided to spend time volunteering there in addition to raising money.
When Anna Remus Tamerius picked Coyote Hill as her charity to represent in Hickman High School’s homecoming queen contest, she wanted to do more than raise money for the organization. She wanted to spend time there.
Hickman and Rock Bridge high schools are both celebrating homecoming this week. Every year, queen candidates nominated from Hickman clubs choose a charity and work to raise money for it during homecoming week. Anna is representing Mu Alpha Theta as one of 10 finalists.
Coyote Hill provides homes for abused children. During a recent visit, Anna and her friends sat helping young girls with their homework. As she worked with a 10-year-old on reading homework, she listened as the girl read and helped her when she was stuck on a worksheet. The two talked and shared smiles, and after wrapping up homework, they went outside to play.
It seemed like the pair had known each other for a while, but Anna said they had just met that afternoon. It was her first trip to Coyote Hill, but she said it wouldn’t be her last.
“I’m definitely enjoying it already. It’s something I really want to continue,” she said. The kids were “so sweet and excited to have us.”
Two friends joined Anna in volunteering that afternoon, including Maya Ramachandran. Maya already regularly volunteers at Coyote Hill and said she was excited Anna decided to join her.
“I’m really glad she’s bringing awareness to this organization,” Maya said. “I think a lot of people don’t know about it and don’t know all the services they offer.”
Anna also has some personal connections to Coyote Hill. The people who started the organization live down the street from her, she said, and her late grandfather paid for and built the arena on the property.
“He loved horses,” she said. “He did other things around the community. … He was a really great man.”
Anna is already following in his footsteps in charity work — she volunteers at Boone Hospital Center and Columbia Second Chance, too. She also likes kids a lot, she said, which was another reason she wanted to help at Coyote Hill.
“Coming out here makes me want to work harder to raise money,” she said.
Maya said Anna is a “pioneer” in adding the service aspect to the charity fundraising.
“I love that homecoming is about more than popularity,” she said.
Michael Kauffman, house dad at the home where Maya and Anna volunteered, said the service aspect is an important part of charity work.
“Pouring time into people makes a true difference,” he said, though fundraising and donations are essential, too.
In the past, queen candidates’ involvement in their charities has varied, Hickman teacher Jeff Devero said.
Some girls are “very active in whatever group they’re representing,” he said, and might have even founded those charities, he said. Others might have a personal connection, such as a family member affected by a disease, he said.
The service angle, he said, is something he thinks the school will push more in the future.
“It will certainly be something we encourage our queens and courtwarming kings … to definitely go out and be more active in the community and get directly involved,” he said.
The annual homecoming queen charity fair will be from 11 a.m. to 1:10 p.m. Wednesday.
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