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M'ville homecoming queen, court has many family connections

Cary Ashby • Oct 4, 2017 at 11:00 AM

MONROEVILLE — When Paige Schafer walked down the 50-yard line as this year’s Monroeville homecoming queen, she was with her twin sister Kara, an attendant, and their parents, Jackie and David.

Did you know there’s quite a homecoming legacy for their family?

Jackie (Darling) Schafer was the homecoming queen in 1982. That makes Jackie and Paige Schafer at least the third mother and daughter to be homecoming queens at Monroeville High School. 

Jeannie “Jean” (Moore) Pretto was selected as the queen in 1971 and her daughter, Rhiannon “Rhi” (Pretto) Buck, had the title in 2005. Buck currently is a kindergarten teacher at Western Reserve Elementary School. She has been with the district for four years.

Prior to that, Debbie (Burns) Jones was the Monroeville homecoming queen in 1969 and her daughter, Dana (Jones) Sattler, was selected in 1992. Debbie Jones’ sister, Pat, was queen  in 1973.

“Jean Pretto retired from our cafeteria at Monroeville,” said English teacher Caroline Schnetzer, who coordinated homecoming activities with Stephanie Van Fleet. “She is the class of '72 (and is) Steve Moore's sister.”

And the Monroeville homecoming legacy for the Schafer family doesn’t stop there.

“Jean Moore Pretto is my husband’s cousin,” Jackie Schafer said.

Schafer’s sister-in-law, Jane (Schafer) Hedrick, was the homecoming queen in 1991.

“We have four daughters and a son. Gretchen graduated in 2015. She was a senior homecoming attendant,” Schafer said.

According to school records, prior to 1962 — the first year the Eagles had a football team, the queen was selected at the end of the year at the May Ball.

“And here’s something funny too,” Schafer said before Friday’s game. “The young man that (my daughter) Paige dates — her mom was the 1981 homecoming queen.”

Carrie (Kluding) Stieber was the Monroeville queen in 1981, one year before Schafer was selected. Stieber crowned Schafer the following year. Stieber’s son, Aiden, graduated from Monroeville in 2016.

Schafer wasn’t aware of the homecoming queen connection with Stieber until their children started dating.

“It’s a legacy; it’s something to be really proud of. To have twins named to the homecoming court (is unusual). One child is huge; to have two is like ‘Wow.’ To have three children — oh my gosh,” Schafer said.

“I’m very proud of both of them … (for) even being named to the homecoming court. I’m shocked that Paige was named homecoming queen,” the twins’ mother continued.

“One thing I told both girls (separately was) I want you to be happy for whoever gets it. I want you to smile, be happy, congratulate them, but enjoy the moment because it does go fast.”

When the arrangements were being made for this year’s homecoming, the Schafer sisters were asked if they wanted to ride in the parade and walk on the football separately or together. 

“I preferred them to be together and Kara said, ‘I want to be separate because Paige needs to her little limelight.’ Paige says, ‘Nope. I want to be with my sister.’ I said, ‘OK,’” their mother said.

The twins’ connection will continue after graduation since they will attend Owens Community College.

“Kara is going to Owens. She is going to play volleyball as a setter. She’s not sure what she’s going to take,” her mother said. “Paige is going to Owens and (study to become) a dental hygienist.”

Schafer said walking on the field with her daughters brought back memories from her time on the court in 1982.

“Monroeville does such a beautiful job with homecoming. It’s always been a big deal. When you are named to the court is such an honor because Monroeville goes all out,” she said. “It’s a great weekend.

“My girls are very much queens in my eyes — the same as the three other girls. They’re all beautiful, young ladies and just so nice. And I can’t say enough about the five girls who were named (to the court). It’s such an honor for all of them.”

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