Editor's Note: Newsday.com is catching up with former Long Island homecoming kings and queens to reflect on being named royalty and see what they're up to now. If you're a former Long Island high school homecoming king or queen and would like to participate, email email@example.com.
For the Stigliano ladies, royalty runs in the family. It all began in 1978, when Terri Stigliano was crowned homecoming queen of Valley Stream South High School. The big announcement is typically made at a pep rally the evening before the football game.
“I really didn’t think I was going to win at all,” she said.
Stigliano was so sure she wouldn't win that she didn’t even attend the pep rally, choosing instead to dance the night away at a Neil Young concert at Nassau Coliseum.
“After we came out of the concert, we didn’t have cellphones then but we got word that they didn’t announce king and queen because certain people weren’t there,” she laughed. “It didn’t even cross my mind.”
The following day during the homecoming game between Valley Stream North and South, Stigliano was officially named homecoming queen in front of all of her friends, plus her mother and sister.
“I was really shocked,” she said.
Stigliano was planning to attend Adelphi University after graduation, but ended up going to work at an import-export company in John F. Kennedy International Airport. Now, she is the manager of operations at an international logistics company. “I stayed in the industry and worked for many different companies,” she said.
Stigliano has two daughters, Vanessa and Brittany, who both attended Lawrence High School in Cedarhurst. They were both elected to their homecoming courts as underclassmen. Brittany was named homecoming princess during her freshman and junior year, and was runner-up to the homecoming queen senior year, before graduating in 2004. Vanessa was named homecoming royalty twice and graduated in 2000.
When Brittany first won as a freshman, she said the winners were announced at a bonfire at the school.
She remembered, “All my sister's teachers were like, ‘It runs in the family!’”
Like her mother, Brittany was on the cheerleading team and later chose to work instead of attending college.
“It wasn’t for her, just like it wasn’t for me,” her mother said.
Since the age of 16, Brittany has made a second home out of Starz on Broadway Dance Studio in Lynbrook. She started there as a choreographer of several styles of dance — hip-hop, lyrical, tap and jazz — and was promoted to director of the studio five years ago.
“I’m fortunate enough to have turned my passion into a career,” she said. “And not many people can say they are able to do that.”
Brittany now resides in West Islip with her husband and 5-year-old daughter, Valentina. Vanessa, who recently got married, is a fifth-grade teacher and resides in Long Beach.
Their mother still speaks excitedly about Brittany and Vanessa's accomplishments at Lawrence High School.
"I was proud and honored that both of my girls won," she said.