One family, two kings

Marshall brothers Stephen and Jacob Zimmer were both crowned as homecoming royalty earlier this fall

Photo courtesy of Stephen Zimmer Southwest Minnesota State University senior Stephen Zimmer, at left, and his brother Jacob Zimmer, a Marshall High School senior, never guessed they’d both be crowned homecoming king at their respective schools this fall. The brothers said it was a special experience – more so because they got to share it.

MARSHALL — It was the kind of thing you just couldn’t plan out, Stephen Zimmer said.

This fall, Stephen and his brother Jacob Zimmer were both going into their senior years – Stephen at Southwest Minnesota State University, and Jacob at Marshall High School.

“We obviously knew it was going to be our senior year, so we were going to share some special moments,” Zimmer said. But the brothers didn’t expect that being crowned as homecoming royalty would be among those moments.

In October, MHS students voted senior Jacob in as homecoming king. Just a week later, Stephen was chosen to be SMSU’s homecoming king.

“It’s just one of those things where it kind of happens,” Stephen Zimmer said. “And then once we were both crowned king it was just something extra special, I would say.”

Jacob Zimmer said he was just happy to be nominated for MHS’s homecoming court. “But to win it was very special for me, and then finding out Stephen also won is just also very special,” he said.

The results of the two homecoming coronations came as a surprise. The brothers said MHS and SMSU select homecoming royalty in different ways.

“To me, it was a lot to think about,” Jacob Zimmer said of being chosen for the homecoming court. At MHS, students nominate and then vote for homecoming candidates. “And then, I think there were like seven guys (as candidates) this year. So with all that competition, I was kinda like, whatever happens, happens.”

At SMSU, students can choose to run as candidates for homecoming royalty, Stephen Zimmer said. “You basically run on behalf of at least one club,” he said. “And so I ran on behalf of Enactus and the Newman Club at SMSU.” Enactus is a student organization that does entrepreneurial projects to improve the community, and the Newman Club is part of Catholic campus ministry at SMSU.

Two rounds of voting were held to select SMSU homecoming candidates and royalty, Stephen said. Because he was one of only two candidates running for homecoming king this year, he automatically advanced to the second round.

“At that point, it was just cool,” Stephen said, because he and Jacob knew they were both on their schools’ homecoming courts. “And then before you know it, we both ended up getting voted in as homecoming king.”

“I’d say our parents and other family members are just very proud,” he said. “We had family members attend both of our coronations, so I’d say that was just really cool.”

This fall’s homecoming was part of a busy year for both brothers. The Zimmers are both active in extracurriculars and plan to go on to continue their studies after graduation.

Jacob Zimmer has been part of activities like band and the speech team at MHS.

“I really enjoy music, and then academically I enjoy math. I do plan to do something math-related in college,” he said.

Music and public speaking both opened up some big opportunities for Jacob during his time at MHS.

“It was fun to be a part of speech my junior year because we got to go to Harvard,” he said. Some of the best high school speech students from around the country traveled to compete at national tournament held at the Harvard campus.

“And then of course being in marching band helped get me to New York,” Jacob said. This fall, he was chosen to be among 185 high school musicians who marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade last week. Jacob said getting to continue performing past the end of marching band season was a big morale boost for him. “And then of course the people I met there were amazing as well,” he said.

Stephen Zimmer is a political science major at SMSU. “For me personally, I’ve especially been interested in local government,” he said. “I’ve always thought that’s fascinating, how people are able to interact with other people within their community, and just make a difference within their community as well.”

Stephen is also active with student organizations at SMSU.

“For me personally, I’ve always loved getting involved on campus, meeting new people,” he said. During his time in college, Stephen has been part of Enactus, the Newman Club, and the SMSU College Republicans. “I was also an orientation leader for Gold Rush Days for two years, and then I was also a student planner for the SMSU Gala this past year.”

Stephen said another highlight of his time at SMSU was getting to travel to the Bahamas last spring to do field research, as part of a trip organized by the university’s biology department.

“We hall had our own research projects,” he said. “Me and one of my friends, we worked in a group where we were testing out the water quality on tide pool species.”

The Zimmers said they had gone into their respective senior years getting ready to experience some school and college events for the last time. But both being voted homecoming royalty at the same time added something unexpected to the experience.

“It just kind of happened,” Stephen said. “As the process went on, we thought, win or lose, we’re just going to have a good time. We both had some good friends on the court, and we thought, you know what, we just want to partake in the events, have a good time and cheer everyone else on.”

The Zimmer brothers are both looking at continuing their education after this year. Jacob plans to attend the University of South Dakota, and Stephen is looking at pursuing a master’s degree in public administration. As they look to the future, it’s good to be able to share ideas and advice, Jacob Zimmer said.

“What’s kind of nice is like, I’m bouncing things off of (Stephen) for like, scholarship advice and how to do all of that stuff,” he said.


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