Tracey Edouard, a native of Huntington, N.Y. and a member of the 2012 Homecoming court, may have contributed a lot to the Penn State community during her time here, but before she stepped foot in Happy Valley, she was unaware of its existence.
“At first I didn't know anything about Penn State. A friend who was a junior told me and I was like, ‘what’s Penn State?’” Edouard (senior-public relations) said. “So I did research, and I liked what I saw. However, it was the tour with the Lion Ambassadors that solidified everything. It’s a big school, a well-known school and I was honestly sold when I first heard everyone scream ‘We Are.’”
Something Edouard will carry with her after she leaves Penn State is Joe Paterno’s 409th win, which was earned during the 2011 game against Illinois.
“It was freezing, and there was snow everywhere. Everyone had been there for hours. I was on Game Day Squad, and we were on the field,” Edouard said. “Everyone was on edge because we had 10 points and they had 7 points, and it all came down to the last field goal.”
Right before Illinois was about to attempt to kick the ball for the crucial field goal, Edouard saw the most amazing thing she’s ever seen.
“Suddenly, all I saw was a massive wave of students at south end zone, coming together to try and distract the kicker,” Edouard said. “It was the three scariest seconds of my life, but it was rejected by the goal post, and the whole arena went nuts. I lost my mind and was hugging and screaming with everyone.”
A violinist for over 12 years and a lover of classical and mainstream music, Edouard has surrounded herself on campus with a wide range of activities ranging from campus orchestra, to leading the women’s volleyball student section, to being a resident assistant.
“I’m also the senior leader of the Game Day Squad, and we handle promotions for Penn State football, handing out shakers and providing an overall amazing game day experience for anyone that attends, including the visiting teams,” Edouard said.
Another major activity Edouard is involved in that allows her to directly give back to the community is her position as the female host of the Penn State SAFE program.
The SAFE program is a module that incoming freshman are required to complete in order to understand how to maximize safety in all things college-related on and off campus.
“When I was 17, there were questions that I wanted answers to,” Edouard said. “It helped me and eased my worries knowing ins and outs of the university, and I want the incoming freshmen to share those feelings.”
Although Edouard is so involved and happy with her life at Penn State, her high school experience did not hold the fondest of memories.
“I did not like my high school. There was a lot of drama, and girls couldn't grasp who I was as a person,” Edouard said. “I really dealt with lots of hatred. Girls would exclude me on purpose to make me feel out of place.”
Although Edouard had to overcome adversity during her high school career, she said that those experiences have humbled her and allowed her to learn more about herself.
“When I came to college, I started fresh,” Edouard said. “No one knew who I was or how I grew up, and I was able to make friends who liked me for me. I spent the best four years of my life here.”
What some Penn State students admire about Edouard is her constant spirit and involvement in the Penn State community.
“Tracey is an amazing person. She is always preoccupied with making sure people are happy and I think it’s time for her to take time for herself in the form of representing the school she loves as Homecoming Queen,” Rene Garcia (senior-forensic science) said. “There is no one with more school spirit than Tracey.”
As for Tracey’s plans after she leaves Penn State, she said she is confident in the fact that she gained much experience and established connections at Penn State that she never would have anywhere else.
“God has a plan for me. Everything will work out in the end,” Edouard said. “I’m a one day at a time kind of person, so whatever happens, happens. I know I am here for a reason.”