Key West High School 2020 Homecoming Court By: Jessica Nitti

Homecoming is a tradition at Key West High School that celebrates and honors five outstanding senior girls, chosen by their peers, who exemplify Conch Pride. This year’s 2020 Homecoming Court is no exception. The five ladies nominated are Blondine Conserve, Ryan Star Gage, Julia Niles, Heaven Rodriguez, and Marie Willy.

Blondine Conserve

It is an honor to be chosen as a Homecoming candidate and there is no doubt that Blondine Conserve is deserving of this honor.

Conserve said that, when homecoming court was announced, she was shocked, and her mouth dropped in surprise. After being on the Key West Junior Football League homecoming court, she has always dreamed of being on the KWHS homecoming court. She is very grateful for this opportunity to represent her class and school.

For her, being on the Homecoming Court means that she can represent the groups that she is affiliated with. Conserve would describe herself as a versatile, strong, and independent leader. She is involved in various clubs and sports such as Zonta, Executive Board, Student Council, Peer Mentoring, Keys to Be the Change, Conchettes, and Track. Also, being of Haitian descent is something that Conserve is very proud of. She explains,” Being able to represent my Haitian and black queens is something that I am proud of.”

Conserve demonstrates Conch Pride by dedicating her four years at KWHS to Conchettes and track. She enjoys performing and showing her spirit at school games and pep rallies. Although her freshmen year was difficult after Hurricane Irma, she persevered and came back stronger the following year. She has respect for herself, her peers, and her teachers. “I come to school every day, even through challenges I encounter, with a smile on my face,” Conserve stated.

Conserve thinks homecoming is a great event. She said, “I am very excited for spirit week and to see lots of creativity throughout the whole school.” She loves to see her fellow peers have fun dressing up in their costumes and outfits. She is most excited to create memories that will last a lifetime and later pass down such traditions to her children.

When she leaves KWHS, Conserve would like to be remembered as a role model for younger students. An ideal student who shows up to school every day, gets good grades, and participates in extracurricular activities. “I was always the underdog or unsung hero. I want students to know that there are always people noticing the things you do,” explained Conserve.

After high school, Conserve plans on attending Florida Agricultural Mechanical University. Her goal is to go into dentistry. She would also like to obtain a real estate license.

Blondine Conserve will be escorted by Malik Hunter, who has been her friend for many years. When the names for homecoming court were announced, Conserve heard hers and saw it as a perfect opportunity for Hunter to escort her.

Ryan Star Gage

Ryan Star Gage is very thankful to be a Homecoming candidate and excited to have the opportunity to represent Key West High School in such a special way.

For Gage, being on Homecoming Court is a big honor and means a lot to her. “When they announced my name, I was shocked considering the number of deserving girls on the nominations list,” said Gage. She knew that any nominee had a great chance of getting on the court, and no matter what, she would be proud of everyone.

Gage is honored to have been picked by her classmates for this memorable experience. She cannot wait to share these moments with the fantastic group of girls on court alongside her.

Throughout high school, Gage has been involved in clubs and sports. The most important to her was being an active member of her senior class executive board and the KWHS volleyball team. In her sophomore year, she joined the Student Council and began enjoying all the great extracurriculars that KWHS offers. As a senior, Gage is a part of the Conch Campus Restoration Club, Zonta Club, and Art for the World.

Growing up in Key West, you are always told to “Never leave home without your Conch Pride.” Gage has learned what it truly means to display Conch Pride and lives by that motto every day. She is involved in her class, respects others, and always strives to be the best student and classmate she can be.

With her years in high school coming to an end, Gage wants to be remembered for all the hard work and dedication she has given to her class, school, and community in the past four years. She hopes her uplifting and optimistic attitude is something people recognize in her.

While Gage is looking forward to every part of the homecoming court experience, she is especially excited for the Homecoming parade. The parade is one of her favorite events every year because of the unity each class displays. “I cannot wait to see everyone’s wonderful floats and their representation of Conch Pride,” said Gage.

Following high school, Gage plans on attending a college in Florida and majoring in sociology. Helping people is something that she is passionate about and she wants a career that reflects this.

Ryan Star Gage will be escorted by Chase Sellers. Sellers has been like a brother to Gage for the past six years. They made a promise to each other a few years ago that, if she were to get on the homecoming court, he would walk with her. Their promise has been kept, and Gage is excited to be sharing this special time with her best friend.

Julia Niles

Julia Niles has been chosen by her senior class to be a Homecoming Queen nominee and is honored to be a part of one of the longest traditions at Key West High School.

When Niles heard Mrs. McPherson announce her name for homecoming court, she was so excited. She immediately jumped up with excitement and ran to tell her family. “It means so much to me that my senior classmates have chosen me to represent the school,” said Niles.

Niles has been a very active member of the KWHS community. She is Vice President of Student Council, Treasurer of the Senior Executive Board, a peer mentor, a member of the National Honor Society, a participant in Art for the World, and a member of Zonta Club. She has also competed in track and field since Freshman year. In the community, she has received service hours from helping the athletic trainer, Gabby Flannigan, and volunteered at the SPCA.

Niles feels she epitomizes Conch Pride. She enjoys attending all school events and wearing her Conch colors. She is also a proud recipient of the Conch Pride award for school spirit and outstanding athlete.

Niles would like to be remembered as a positive role model, a hard-working and kind person, and, most importantly, a good friend. She enjoyed becoming a part of the sports teams during her high school years and holding leadership positions.

Niles is most excited to share her last spirit week with the whole school and make incredible memories with everyone. “I am looking forward to walking down the football field with my dad, escort, and the four beautiful girls that I am so happy to call my friends,” said Niles.

After high school, Niles’ dream is to become an actress and work in the arts industry. She plans on attending either the University of Central Florida or Florida State to study photography, design, fashion, or film production. “I love planning out my future; it gives me something to look forward to and work hard for,” stated Niles.

Julia Niles will be escorted by Preston Herce. They have always been best friends and have such a great time together. She could not have picked a better person to be by her side for this experience.

Heaven Rodriguez

Heaven Rodriguez is grateful to be chosen as a Homecoming Queen nominee and is honored that her class thought of her in such a special way.

Rodriguez was beyond excited when she found out her peers picked her for homecoming court. She never thought she would be one of the girls on court. “There were 26 deserving candidates, so it was truly anybody’s game,” she said.

Being on homecoming court is an opportunity for Rodriguez to show what her high school years have been about. At school, she is involved in the KWHS band as the drum major, the girl’s weightlifting team as co-captain, and Beta Club as a member.

Not only is she involved in her school and community, but she also displays Conch Pride wherever she goes. Whether it is participating in the marching band at the football games or volunteering in the community, she exemplifies what it means to be a Conch and is not afraid to let it show.

Throughout her time at KWHS, Rodriguez would like to be remembered as the girl with a kind heart and open mind who made her friends and family proud. She is known by her peers to be a hardworking and determined individual that is always striving for success.

Rodriguez believes homecoming is one of the greatest events at KWHS. She said, “I am very excited for everyone to show their school spirit and create lasting memories.” She is most excited for the parade. It will be her first time watching and riding in the parade since she normally marches with the band.

After graduating from high school, Rodriguez plans to attend college to study music. She hopes to someday work with other great musicians and artists from around the world.

Heaven Rodriguez will be escorted by her boyfriend, Arturo Torres. He is important to Rodriguez in so many ways and always pushes her to be the best version of herself.

Marie Willy

Marie Willy is a nominee for Homecoming Queen, who has dedicated her time at Key West High School to a wide range of clubs and activities.

When homecoming court was announced, Marie Willy did not know what to think. She was surprised but, at the same time, she had a feeling that she was going to make the court. “The fact that my classmates thought of me as a representation of Conch Pride is very meaningful,” stated Willy.

At KWHS school, Willy is involved in numerous activities. She holds two leadership positions, serving as President of the Class of 2021 Executive Board and as Treasurer of the Student Council. In addition, she is a member of Zonta Club, Beta Club, Conch Student-Athlete Leadership Team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society, and a Peer Mentor. She is also captain of the Girls Soccer Team.

Willy demonstrates Conch Pride in every way she can. She is dedicated in everything she does, always gives her best effort, and is respectful to all those she encounters.

When Willy leaves KWHS and embarks on the next chapter of her life, she wants to be remembered as someone who was willing to help anyone in need. She hopes that people view her as a hard-working, involved student, who brought happiness and positivity wherever she went.

Homecoming week is Willy’s favorite time of the school year. She is excited for the Homecoming Parade, where she will see all the creativeness displayed through each grade level’s costumes and floats. She also cannot wait to ride to the stadium with her escort.

After graduating, Willy plans to attend the University of Florida, where she aspires to major in public relations and minor in business. “I do not know what specific career I want to pursue, but I am open-minded. So whatever path God leads me on, I will follow,” said Willy.

Marie Willy will be escorted by Nicolas Concepcion who she has known since they were toddlers at Montessori. Being able to walk together is the perfect culmination of their longstanding friendship.

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