CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — One of the greatest honors to be bestowed on someone at Buc Days is the title of king or queen. Every year, 20 high school students compete for the honor, with $62,000 in scholarships to be distributed amongst the contestants for the Buc Days Port of Corpus Christi King and Queen Leadership Program.
“Actually being a part of the parade, being on a float, and getting to drive down in the night and be a part of that, was really exciting. Also, to be able to do it with all the other people who were a part of the program, so all my friends were in it, it was just really exciting for us,” said 2019 Buc Days King, RJ Loa.
Loa, a graduate of Calallen High School, now attends Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, where he is studying Communications, thanks in part to scholarships he received from the Buc Days program. He didn’t attend many Buc Days events growing up, but is glad he got involved with the program his senior year of high school.
“I think it’s a really, really good experience, I think it’s something you’ll remember, it really helps out here in the community, and it’s just really fun to be a part of, and I’m proud to be a member of the Buc Days community,” Loa said.
Unlike Loa, Meagan Harrington attended many Buc Days events growing up.
“I always dreamed about being a Buc Days Queen. I participated in the fundraiser shoot, the clay shoot that Buc Days hosted. I also went to all the rodeos,” Harrington said.
In 2017, the King High School grad’s dreams came true, when she was named the Buc Days Queen.
“It was actually an amazing experience, it definitely made my senior year of high school so memorable,” she said.
The program lasts six months. Applicants start by writing an essay to apply for the program. Once the finalists are chosen, the program brings them to tour different industries in Corpus Christi; from the Port, to Driscoll Children’s Hospital, and the teens network and learn leadership skills through the process.
“They teach you how to interact with people, how to network, and then teach you about the community here. So, I think the ultimate goal is to teach all those involved about the local industries here in Corpus. So, I think that was really exciting,” Loa said.
Of course, during the week of Buc Days, the king and queen are treated like royalty.
“I think just the pirate costume itself, they are always like, ‘look at this pirate queen!’ Whether they do or do not know about Buc Days, there are always kids wanting to take pictures with you,” Harrington said.
As former royalty, Loa lends his experiences to help out any of the candidates for Buc Days King.
“That’s always really fun, talking with them about what they’re excited about, their experience with Buc Days, that’s part of the fun of it,” he said.
Harrington is studying nursing at Texas A&M College Station, and has not been able to make a Buc Days celebration since starting college, but is thankful for the program’s impact on her life.
“This program does change your life for the better, you get to meet lifelong friends, and you develop leadership skills and abilities that will help you all throughout your career, and throughout college,” she said.