The Commack High School homecoming court nominees walked across the football field in pairs last Saturday, flanked by the kickline team shaking shimmering white and gold pom poms.
Kelsey Fisher, 17, the treasurer for her senior class, the member of six honors societies and a volunteer for Make-A-Wish, was one of them.
Her mother, Kathleen Fisher, watched from the stands. Thirty-three years earlier she was crowned homecoming queen of Flushing High School in Queens.
"How many homecoming queens become a cop? Not many," Kathleen Fisher said.
Kelsey didn't end up winning the homecoming crown. But she has been raised to have a clear understanding of what's actually important in life.
Kelsey says that despite being only 3, she remembers watching "Teletubbies" when her mother got a call to report to work on Sept. 11, 2001. Kathleen Fisher, then an NYPD detective squad sergeant in the counterterrorism bureau, had been baking a cake for her 14th wedding anniversary.
"All I remember is my mom was gone for, like, three days, just coming home to get supplies that she would need just in case," Kelsey said.
During the homecoming parade, Fisher sat perched atop a bright red 1966 Buick Wildcat -- its color almost indistinguishable from the red stripes on the American flags lining the front of Commack High School -- put in place to honor 9/11 first responders and Wounded Warriors.
A half-hour before the parade, the Buick got two flat tires. Kathleen put the situation into perspective.
"We've got kids over in Iraq, you got kids that are her age, they'll be 18 and they're not coming home," Kelsey said. "So not having a convertible for homecoming is OK."
It was fixed just in time for Kelsey to gree amorous onlookers with a poised wave.
Kelsey is planning to pursue her undergraduate degree in forensic anthropology and a graduate degree in psychology -- both pursuits she credits to her mother.
"She raised me fantastically," Kelsey said. "I am so proud every day of my country and her service, and anybody's service to save and help others."