Homecoming King and Queen Q&A

Vivian Hoang and Emily Joe


Homecoming King: Andrew Yamasaki        Homecoming Queen: Tara Lao

Did you ever imagine becoming Homecoming King/Queen?

Andrew: If we’re talking about freshman and sophomore year, I didn’t really see it because I idolized the basketball players that went on to become homecoming king like Scott Ho. I never thought I could achieve that level of quote, unquote popularity. After I became rally commissioner, people started knowing my name, so people in the hallway would be like ‘Hey Andrew Yamasaki’ or ‘Yama’ or whatever they would call me. I started realizing I had a decent chance. I mean I always thought it would be nice, but I never thought it was that achievable for me.

Tara: No not at all; it was never something I ever thought about and everything I do was never for the sole purpose of winning homecoming queen. It wasn’t a big interest in me being homecoming queen and I even debated if I should still run for it since I know that there was a lot of drama around it a few years ago, but Ultimately I was like “yeah why not, I might as well.” So yeah, I never really saw myself as someone who would become homecoming queen and when I was nominated, I thought “Wow this is crazy.” I guess I was just amazed that people knew that so many people knew what I did. I didn’t expect any recognition at all because I did a lot of behind the scenes things, like Mr. IHS. But I am so thankful for the people who did think of me because it motivates me more, knowing that people know all that I put into the school. So I want to work harder because it makes me happier knowing everyone else is happy.

It wasn’t really a big deal to me whether I won or not, but when I was nominated I thought, “Wow people actually want me to be homecoming queen.”

I think that everyone on court deserved to be Homecoming Queen or King and I would have been happy if any one of them won. Being nominated was cool and making court was cool, but once I won, I realized that I wouldn’t be who I am without student body.

How did you feel when you heard your name being called out for Homecoming King/Queen?

Andrew: It was really surreal. It was quiet, but it seemed to quieter than normal. Everything was really weird. It felt like a rush of scientific dopamine in the brain. Everything just felt so surreal. I couldn’t really believe it at first, so I kind of just turned around in shock to the crowd. Then my mom held up the sign, and everybody started cheering, Eventually, everybody started chanting my name and that was crazy. It felt like a movie.

Tara: At first, I was kind of confused because we held the posters up over our heads, so we couldn’t tell which one of us got the lights. Then I heard people calling my name and it took me a while to realize that I was the one who was Homecoming Queen. I was in genuine shock because I was set on someone else winning and I basically had no words. I also didn’t really know what to do and was just in a lot of shock.

Before I left for the dodgeball tournament, I told my dad what was happening and he told me, “You’re not gonna win.”

In your own words, how do you exemplify IHS?

Andrew: I’d like to say I’m pretty hard-working because many students here take so many AP classes, difficult classes, and outside classes. Although I don’t necessarily take all those classes, I think I’m a hard-working student in all the classes I so take. I think I’m pretty cultural because our school is so diverse, like how many schools in America are like ours? So I think I represent that and acceptance. We have so many different types of people here with different cultures, and I would like to think that I’m very accepting of all cultures. I love to be friends with everybody.

Tara: I feel like my personality really shows how the IHS community is. I just like to find different ways to help people by being in ASB as well as several clubs. I also think being Mr. IHS coordinator helps because it’s super rewarding to me to see people happy and see the guys bond over the event that I help set up.

Being an open person and showing that whatever your feeling on the inside really helps too because it shows a lot of people that it’s okay to be yourself. Irvington is a safe place to do that even though people may be against it – like if that’s something that you want to do, then you do you. For example, sometimes I’ll do things and later I’ll look back at it and think, “I can’t believe I did that.”

Time to drop some bars. What is IHS to you?


Irvington, where we always stress. Deal with tests.

Have to deal with QUEST. Gotta find a way to finesse.


Tired of benchmarks, staying up late.

I just want to go out to PAC. Have fun with my mates.  


So glad I came here even though it was hard.

Got to meet cool friends go off to lunch in nice cars.


Create good memories. Super cool teachers.

Did cool things all year. On Instagram, I got featured.


Easy classes, hard classes, even ASG.

The stress has held me down, but I always stayed free.


I hope the next generation just keeps on a smile.

Enjoy the ride while you can, just experience the fun for miles.

Tara: Irvington is a place for me to be me, versus most of my outside programs, such as work and home, where I have to be civilized and live up to my family’s expectations. But at Irvington, I can let myself be free and express myself in different ways. It’s a super safe place and you’re bound to find someone that has the same interest as you.

What’s one lesson Irvington has taught you in the past three years you’ve been here?

Andrew: One thing Irvington has taught me is to just enjoy yourself when you can. Everyone is always worried about taking APs, taking all these hard classes, getting good grades, and getting into a good college. There’s so much stress and worry built up. I feel like a lot of the time, people just forget to enjoy their youth.  You only get to be 14 to 18 for so long. I feel like this year, I’ve found a group of friends who help me enjoy myself and that’s one thing I take from IHS.

Tara: I know freshman year, I was super shy and was intimidated, but, throughout the years, I just learned that people will accept you no matter who you are and I wasn’t scared to be who I am. There are so many people here and you don’t have to be someone else to be cool. Irvington really taught me that there will not only be people who are against you, but there will also be people who support you – it’s just a matter of finding and surrounding yourself with those people.

Favorite memory at IHS?

Andrew: I think my favorite memory at IHS is this past spirit week because class of 2018, we haven’t been that spirited. Freshman year, I didn’t even really know what spirit week was. Sophomore year I knew about it. Junior year I participated, but most of our class didn’t. [I was so surprised] when I saw everybody dressed up as senior citizens, wearing all black, throwbacks, and on army day. I was part of ASG, so I had to do the counting. I was shook with how well we participated, how much energy we had for the morning pep rally, and how loud we got when we chanted “seniors” for the first rally. It was ridiculous. Willer told me how it was the loudest he has heard the gym before. So that has to be my favorite memory, my class pulling through at Irvington High School for spirit.

Tara: Definitely the whole experience of being Junior Class Officer was my favorite year. It was my first year of ASB and decided to run for class officer because I saw things that we could change to improve our high school experience. Then I unexpectedly won and I feel like we brought the class together. I also learned a lot about myself that year and all the different ways I could showcase what I have to offer.

Once I actually took action, it developed me as a person and I feel like if I wasn’t Junior Class Officer, I wouldn’t be the person who I am today and wouldn’t be happy with myself. The position also helped me learn from other people’s stories and trying to apply that advice to myself was rewarding.

If there was one thing you wish you could have told your freshman self what would it have been?

Andrew: I would have told freshman Andrew to just go for it. Whatever is in your mind, whatever you are considering, or feel like doing it, just go for it. You’re only here for four years. There is no reason to be ashamed for things that you want to do. If that’s what you want to do, just go for it. Because I feel like I was very hesitant before, “Oh. I don’t know if that’s cool or I don’t know my friends will judge me for this like?” If people don’t like you for doing what you want to do, then they don’t need to be that important in your life. Just do what you want to do.

Tara: I would have told myself to not care and that the people around you don’t care that much about you as you think they do. In middle school and as a freshman, I felt like I had to be the cool girl, so I would keep everything to myself. But now, I literally do everything on my mind and people accept it.

Any last comments?

Andrew: “Stay Woke” -Childish Gambino. Go Vikings!

Tara: Thank you for everyone who voted for me. I’m actually in shock that you all really wanted me to be homecoming queen and am super grateful for that.