Drexel University Homecoming has Many Winners in 2023

From the Drexel Dragons to the winners of the student competition, the University community came out on top this year.
Mario poses with the Royal Dragon and another member of Homecoming Court.
Mario the Magnificent poses with the Royal Dragon and another member of the Homecoming Court. 

The windows have been cleaned, the banners have been packed away, and the winners have been named for the Homecoming Court, the Student Competition and the Drexel Dragons’ Homecoming basketball game. Another Homecoming at Drexel University has come and gone, but it brought Dragons together with new traditions and more in-person participation.

“From my perspective, the whole day was great from top to bottom,” Associate Director of Development in Athletics Phil Denne said. “There was so much energy around the game and the DAC [Daskalakis Athletic Center] was packed.”

Before the official Homecoming contest, the men’s basketball team won its “Bluau” game against Hampton University on Jan. 19. Then on Jan. 21, the Dragons came up with a win in their formal Homecoming matchup against the University of Delaware, 77-74. The teams traded blows throughout and it took a period of overtime for the Dragons to put the game away. Guard Justin Moore led the scoring with 21 points, while guard Luke House and forward Amari Williams also had hefty contributions with 19 and 17 points respectively.

At halftime on Jan. 21, Drexel’s Homecoming Court was announced, and the Royal Dragon was crowned. Members were selected based on their campus involvement, academic excellence, capacity to represent the student body and their Drexel pride.

Court members were:

  • Abby Chirico
  • Avery Jaffe
  • Carlie Relyea
  • Chyenne Roberts
  • Jeffrey Wang
  • Karena Escalante
  • Mehroj Alimov
  • Paige DeAngelo

Relyea and Roberts each won a $250 scholarship as the first and second runners-up, respectively, and DeAngelo was crowned the Royal Dragon, earning a $500 scholarship. A fourth-year public relations student with a minor in entrepreneurship and innovation, she is a member of Phi Sigma Sigma, a captain on the Drexel dance team, a speaker for Drexel’s “DragonX” TedX conference, a former host on the

Being named the Royal Dragon meant a lot to her, in part because her sister won the title in 2020. DeAngelo’s teammates, friends and fellow entrepreneurial students nominated her for the honor. It’s been a privilege, she said, to be named Royal Dragon and see that her work has had an impact among Drexel communities.

"I wanted to thank the Drexel staff and faculty for the amount of work and dedication they put into their students because without their support, we wouldn’t have such a dedicated and qualified group of students to be nominated for this title,” DeAngelo said. “I also want to thank my peers who are so inspiring. It takes a Dragon to know a Dragon, and when you’re in classes with these dedicated people, it’s so easy to be inspired and influenced. I dedicated myself to fulfilling the role of a Dragon and taking advantage of every single resource and opportunity I have here.”

The dance team members who nominated DeAngelo for Homecoming Court are a big part of DeAngelo’s life-changing time at Drexel. It’s a sisterhood, she said, and she spends every day with them. They mean the world to each other, and they’ve gone through a lot, from dealing with hectic quarters of school to long practices to bringing the dance team to a Division I level and competing for the first time. Competing was something the team craved, and DeAngelo still gets goosebumps thinking about the moment before they competed for the first time as the team held each other’s hands.

“It would all be impossible without that support and without having a positive group of people to rely on emotionally and physically,” DeAngelo said. “I’m just really grateful that we have such a strong team and program.”

DeAngelo is familiar with Homecoming, having participated close to the heart of the tradition as part of the dance team. The new T-shirt cannon this year was a fun touch, but the win over Delaware University — one of Drexel’s big rivals — took this year’s celebration over the top.

“I don’t think I’ve seen the crowd like that since I was a freshman, so that was really fulfilling,” DeAngelo said. “I saw our coach getting emotional after the game when we won and stormed the court, and that was really heartwarming to have that big win and a huge Drexel family there.”

Mario watches the crowd at the DAC

Mario watches over the crowd at the DAC.

The winners of the Student Competition were also announced at the Homecoming Game, and this year’s winner was a team who’d had their eyes on the prize since last year. The Junior Junior Junior Varsity, so named because their team members’ names are Jasmine, Jacob, Jordan and Vivien, took home the top prize of $1,000 Dragon Dollars.

“There’s varsity and junior varsity, but we thought it would be funny if we were junior-junior-junior varsity,” team captain sophomore Jasmine Bhavsar said. “Last year, we saw an email about the student competition and thought why not give it a shot? It ended up being a lot of fun. We did a comedy bit for the talent show that was really bad and we still talk about it to this day because it was so funny. It was a lot of school spirit that we hadn’t really felt, and it was funny that we were just a friend group versus all these different clubs.”

They got second place last year and decided to participate in the student competition every year they’re at Drexel. This year, the Junior Junior Junior Varsity went “all in,” Bhavsar said, and took home the top place, thanks to their Quizzo performance and their window decorating, which featured Mario the Magnificent roasting a marshmallow over a fire that also featured the Delaware Blue Hen as a rubber chicken over the fire. Bhavsar said their first-place win was surreal, and she hopes to see more friend groups come out and compete, because some of her friends didn’t know you could participate if you weren’t part of a club.

“This was a good pocket of school spirit,” Bhavsar said. “We invited our friends to come see us at the game and it was very cool to see everyone rooting for the same thing, and we won the Homecoming game, which was an even better experience to see the confetti going down. We hadn’t really experienced that type of spirit at Drexel yet.”