By Sarah Meyer, PNT Staff Writer
Eastern New Mexico University students and alumni are set for a weekend packed with homecoming events.
This year’s theme is “Greyhounds Go Hawaiian.” Brooke Cordova of ENMU’s Alumni Affairs said students select the homecoming theme each year by voting on their favorite.
One of the main attractions is the annual homecoming parade, which draws participants from all over the county. “A lot of people are involved,” Cordova said.
Even children build floats.
Second and third grade students at James Elementary made crepe paper flowers that will be used to decorate the school’s float. Susie Thomas’ gifted class, comprised of three third graders, is assembling the float with help from their parents and teacher.
Their goal is to win best float in the parade so they can go to Destination ImagiNation in Albuquerque, part of an international organization for kindergarten through college students, teaching them life skills and expanding their imaginations through team-based creative problem solving, according to the organization’s Web site.
Townsfolk will gather along First Street to watch the colorful floats and listen to the sirens of police cars and fire trucks, as well as bands from throughout the area.
The parade starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, beginning at East First and Abilene Avenue and ending at ENMU.
The annual homecoming game will start at 2 p.m. Saturday at Greyhound Stadium. The Greyhounds will face the Texas A&M-Kingsville Javelins.
“This is a really important game,” said football coach Mark Ribaudo. “A lot of fans and alumni will be there to relive great memories. Hopefully one of those great memories will be of us beating the Javelinas.”
Ribaudo said wins between the two teams go back and forth.
“We’re excited and ready to get after them,” he said.
During halftime, the homecoming king and queen will be presented, along with their court, and 2008 Greyhound Hall of Honors recipients will be inducted.
Another highlight of this year’s homecoming is the 50-year class reunion luncheon, which will be held today at noon.
Bobbie Brown of Portales is a member of the ENMU class of 1958.
She remembers college as, “so much fun. I just loved to study.”
“I thought it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Brown said. She added that she loved the teachers and liked football games.
Brown spent most of her career as a teacher in Phoenix and returned to Portales four years ago.
She said she plans to attend Saturday’s ENMU Foundation breakfast, the parade and “maybe” the game.
The annual foundation breakfast recognizes donors and presents alumni awards. Also recognized this year will be members of the class of 1958, Greyhound Hall of Honors inductees, Educators Hall of Honors recipients and Distinguished Emeritus Faculty Award recipients.
“it’s a chance to recognize alumni and friends who have helped the university,” said Noelle Bartl, executive director of the ENMU Foundation.
She said organizers expect 350 or more people to attend the breakfast.
After the breakfast, “we rush off to the parade,” Bartl said. Honorees are invited to ride in antique cars in the parade, she said.
“Homecoming is a real special time for alumni to reconnect,” Bartl said.
“It’s just a way for alumni to come back to see how it’s changed, to meet other graduates and have a good time,” said Cordova.