Traditionally, the title for homecoming king is bestowed upon a boy.
At Central Islip Senior High School, this year’s title was given to a girl -- Faith Shepherd.
Shepherd, 17, who said she came out as a lesbian when she was 13, decided to run for homecoming king to make a statement about gender roles in society. She said she was inspired by her friend Regina, who lives in North Carolina.
She said they met through Facebook. Shepherd said Smith is transgender and has been bullied for years.
"I did this for my friend Regina,” Shepherd said. “Transgenders don't get equal roles in society. Transgenders aren't always treated very nicely in society. This is me standing up for transgenders and my friend.”
Riding in a car alongside her best friend, homecoming queen Valerie Baez, 17, Shepherd couldn't have been happier wearing her homecoming king sash over a suit jacket at the Central Islip homecoming parade. The parade stretched along Wheeler Road and ended at the Central Islip Senior High School football field.
The pair, along with a homecoming royal court for each grade, won the titles based on votes from their peers. This is the second time a girl has been voted homecoming king, according to some of the senior students, who said the first time was three years ago.
The parade featured a marching band, cheerleaders, and floats based on the school’s theme – Greek mythology – with some showcasing Poseidon, King Midas, Hercules and Hades. The parade also showcased CI Borg -- the school's robot.
Freshmen class advisers Luz Velazquez and Felicita Ramirez were thrilled to see the students and community showing school spirit.
“This parade gives everyone a sense of belonging," Velazquez said, "and it gives the students a chance to be proud of their school."