“Queen Cleopatra” strode confidently down Great Neck Road on a breezy September morning, with a crowd of street mimes and a flamenco dancer in tow.
Dressed in a flowing white dress and Egyptian headband, she stood out prominently among the hundreds of students, parents and community members who cheered and marched their way through town during the Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School homecoming parade on Sept. 24, 2016.
Of course, it wasn’t the real Cleopatra, but Sofie Wilson, 16, of Lindenhurst, dressed as Egyptian royalty, thanks to a borrowed costume from JoAnn Erwin, her history teacher.
“I decided to do it because each year, the kids in the class are supposed to dress up with the theme of the float,” said Wilson, whose twin sister, Lyndsey, also marched in the parade – albeit in a much more modern Copiague High School hoodie.
With her royal attire, Wilson perfectly matched the senior class float, which was decked out with a pyramid and hieroglyphics, as well as a stuffed toy of the school’s mascot, a bald eagle.
This year, the parade theme was Eagles Around the World, meaning each class represented a different culture. The junior class represented Brazil with a soccer-themed float, while the sophomore class represented France with a cardboard version of the Eiffel tower and students dressed as French street mimes. The freshmen had a float celebrating Mexican heritage, complete with flamenco dancers and cardboard cutouts of Mariachi players.
The theme was meant to highlight countries from around the world and to expose students to different cultures, said principal Joseph Agosta. The parade also served as a fun way to get the crowd excited before the school’s homecoming football game against Centereach.
“Everyone is here with the same goal and the same purpose, and just being in that kind of environment where everyone is excited for what’s about to happen is just so enthralling,” said Copiague student Mikayla Angel, 17, of Copiague.
Sofie Wilson said getting to be Cleopatra for a day was not only a great way to show school spirit, but it also made her feel like a real-life queen.
“. . . The whole day I received compliments,” she said. “Even though I didn’t win homecoming queen, I still felt like one.”