Keeping up a regal homecoming tradition

Three generations of Homecoming Queens from left, Leila Uribe, 16, Noel Miranda-Uribe and Valerie Miranda. Dan Watson/The Signal

Valerie Miranda never thought when she was running for homecoming queen her senior year at San Fernando High in 1974 that she was starting a tradition that would continue for decades.

“You don’t think anything of it,” she said of her win. “That’s as far as I thought it’d go.”

Now, 45 years later, Valerie has come to see the legacy she started: not only was she crowned homecoming queen, but so was her daughter, Noel Miranda-Uribe, and her granddaughter, Leila Uribe.

In fact, these three generations of queens aren’t the only ones in the family. When Leila was crowned at Hart High School this year, they started taking inventory, realizing that among others, the family has at least six crowns.

“It’s very rare,” Valerie added. “I had no concept that this would happen.”

Though Valerie doesn’t remember much about when she ran in 1974, she does remember putting up posters and the fact that she was completely shocked at the results. She heard them announce the first runner-up and thought for sure she’d lost until her partner grabbed her and told her otherwise. “I honestly did not think I had won.”

Homecoming Queen Valerie Marcos-Miranda in 1974. Courtesy

When it was her daughter Noel’s turn, Noel, too, decided to run in her senior year, campaigning to “continue the tradition,” complete with a poster with her mother’s photo on it.

“People thought I dressed up in her outfit,” Noel said, chuckling. “The year I ran, my cousin was in 10th grade, so we ran together (for each respective grade).”

Noel remembers the campaign vividly, as she and her cousin Sharese Torres were able to utilize her family’s printing company, Miranda’s Printing and Copy Center on Lyons Avenue, to make posters, labels, stickers and even animal balloons.

“People were wearing them everywhere — it was a fad,” she said. “We just had a lot of fun with it.”

Consequently, both she and Sharese won homecoming queen and princess respectively at James Monroe High School in 1997.

“I was so proud because I knew how hard she worked — she deserved it,” Valerie said.

Homecoming Queen Noel Miranda-Uribe in 1997. Courtesy

Once Noel had a daughter of her own, they began to joke about keeping the tradition alive.

“When I was little, they would joke around,” Leila said, adding that she felt a little bit of pressure. “I thought, ‘Ugh, I’m going to have to run when I’m older.’ Then, I went to a public school from a private school and I was like, ‘There’s no way I would get it —I don’t know anybody here.’”

Leila had transferred to Hart High School from Santa Clarita Christian School in her freshman year, which put her at a disadvantage to others who had grown up together.

When it finally came time to decide whether to run, Leila was hesitant, but decided to go for it.

“My mom had campaigned, so she gave me some insight,” Noel said, adding that she then did the same for Leila. “You have to get people involved.”

All three generations had been involved in sports, whether it be cheerleading, softball, volleyball or basketball, and were all able to use their diverse friendships to help them garner votes.

Leila Uribe opens the box revealing she has won Homecoming queen at Hart High School in September 2019. Courtesy

Leila doesn’t have any social media, and wasn’t allowed to put up any posters at school, so she had to go about it the old fashioned way: simply going and talking to her peers.

“I met so many interesting people,” Leila said, adding that she talked to a lot of people she wouldn’t have ever spoken to otherwise. “It was really cool.”

The school did three separate votes, narrowing down the finalists each time, and once Leila had made it to the top five, she was given a princess crown. “You can’t come this far and not get it.”

While many relied on the assumption that their friends would continue to vote for them, Leila continued to put in the work.

“I had a good feeling she was going to win,” Noel said, adding that she decided to invite the entire family to the announcement when Leila won.

“All these little girls were coming up to her and going, ‘I voted for you,’ — it was so cute,” Valerie added.

The best part, though, was being surrounded by family, Leila said.

“It’s just a little extra special,’ Noel added. “I’m really happy, and I’m proud of her, but it’s not just about winning.”

Three generations of Homecoming Queens, from left, Leila Uribe, 16, Noel Miranda-Uribe and Valerie Miranda. Dan Watson/The Signal

Each generation had remembered the importance of goodwill. “I told her to treat people kindly because it’s going to come back around to you, and this is the perfect example,” Noel said.

In addition to the women, Noel’s son Michael was also voted homecoming prince his freshman year at Santa Clarita Christian School in 2011, and Valerie’s son Jacob won homecoming king his senior year at John F. Kennedy High School in 2005.

“I think it’s just amazing,” Jacob said. “To have one person get it is such a great accomplishment, but to have six of us get it, it’s unreal — you can’t make this up.”

And when it comes time for Leila’s daughter to run, Leila said she’ll certainly have a bit of pressure:

“I’ll homeschool her, though,” she said jokingly, “and she’ll get it.”

Leila Uribe rides around the track after being crowned Homecoming queen at Hart High School in September 2019. Courtesy

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