2019 homecoming queen says experience brought her out of ‘comfort zone’

Jalia Jeffreys comes forward for crowning after her name was called during the men's basketball game Friday. Photo by Jon Mirador

Christina Amano Dolan, Contributing Writer

After a week of anticipation, the name “Jalia Jeffreys” rang through the Siegel Center’s speakers on Friday evening. As she waved to the crowd and a Homecoming Queen sash was placed over her shoulder, Jeffreys said she was overjoyed and stunned. 

“I was nervous,” Jeffreys said, “but I wasn’t really focused on winning throughout the whole campaign. I just wanted to just enjoy myself and make this experience enjoyable for everyone else around me.” 

As the newly crowned queen, Jeffreys returns to her busy schedule as a health, physical education and exercise science major. Originally from South Boston, Virginia, Jeffreys says she was initially drawn to VCU by its exceptional medical program and dynamic city life.

2019 Homecoming Queen Jalia Jeffreys sports her crown on campus. The senior is majoring in health, physical education and exercise science and hopes to be an occupational therapist. Photo by Raelyn Fines

“[South Boston] is a very small area. Everyone knows everyone, your parents went to the same high school as you,” Jeffreys said. “In Richmond, it’s very diverse and has lots of different sites to see, and you never meet the same person twice.” 

As both her father and aunt are involved in the medical field, she always knew she wanted to pursue a similar career. After aiding in her grandmother’s recovery for two knee replacement surgeries, she found her passion for occupational therapy.

Working every day with what she describes as a vigorous and demanding major, Jeffreys says she has continued to be proactive in achieving her future goals. After interning at a rehabilitation center over the summer, she plans to take a year away from studies to work at another rehabilitation center post-graduation.

“My overall goal is to get accepted into an occupational therapy program and become an occupational therapist,” Jeffreys said.

Outside of her studies, Jeffreys says she finds ways to stay involved on campus. She uses her dancing and cheerleading skills that she learned in high school as a member of the newly founded Elite Rams Stomp N Shake team. Jeffreys says the organization focuses more on the movement — rather than the competitiveness — of cheerleading. She is also a member of the pre-occupational therapy club. 

As she prepares for her pending graduation in the spring, Jeffreys says she looks back on past Homecoming week events with fond memories. She says anyone who has the opportunity should apply for Homecoming Court and find other ways to stay involved with VCU.

“For me, I wasn’t very outgoing. I was afraid to get out there and try something new,” Jeffreys said. “It helps you get out of your comfort zone, form new friendships and create a new ‘RAMily’ to stay connected with others.”

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