High schools across Cobb County have rolled out the red carpet for their student royalty as part of each of their homecoming celebrations.

Homecoming is a tradition observed widely at high schools across the U.S., welcoming former students and staff back to campus or celebrating with school spirit and activities, often including parades and dances.

Observance of homecoming can last up to a week and falls usually within the fall semester, with many schools scheduling activities around a home football game.

Though processes can vary, each school’s homecoming court is a small group chosen by peers, and a king or queen are further chosen from that group. The king and queen are often announced at home football games.

Out of the 16 Cobb County high schools that participated in homecoming activities, 12 had both a homecoming king and queen. The other four only had a queen. District officials say celebrations and activities vary from school to school.

At Marietta High School, the tradition has been the same for decades, according to French teacher Kibbie DeJarnett. On top of her foreign language instruction, DeJarnett serves the district as student council faculty adviser. That role brings the responsibility, among others, of homecoming planning.

The French teacher said Marietta City Schools celebrates homecoming in style, with a parade and a dance and the student body and alumni know what to expect every year.

“It’s an amazing tradition,” DeJarnett said. “Homecoming doesn’t change. You keep the antebellum dresses. That’s how it’s always been. There’s white for seniors, and there’s blue for underclassmen.”

Maria Ruiz, a senior, was named this year’s Marietta High School homecoming queen. The high school does not have a king but also chooses two princesses.

Ruiz said when she was chosen as queen, she froze.

“I heard my name but I was so stuck in the moment and happy for the girls who had won princesses that I didn’t hear my name get called. It was the most unreal thing ever,” she said. “I was surprised I was chosen because I didn’t think the majority of the senior class would choose me as the queen simply because I’m not as known as the other girls on the court.”

Ruiz said she loves the unity of the school spirit that is so widespread on homecoming week. Her favorite part of the week, she said, was being nominated to homecoming court.

“It’s always been a dream since ninth grade,” she said. “To have been part of such a tradition was a dream come true.”

Follow Thomas Hartwell on Twitter at twitter.com/MDJThomas.

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