It’s good to be king – twice: Former BVHS homecoming king repeats honor at Augustana University

Keeley Meier, staff writer

(Left) Symington was crowned BVHS’s homecoming king in 2016, reigning alongside Kaylee Mork. (Right) BVHS 2017 graduate Layne Symington was crowned Augustana University’s homecoming king. Audrey Cope is this year’s homecoming queen at Augie. Photo by Hunter Chear/Augustana University Media Department.

When Layne Symington was named Brandon Valley High School’s 2016 homecoming king, he had no inkling that four years later, just 16 miles away, he would wear a similar crown once again. 
Symington was crowned Augustana University’s Viking Days king on Oct. 5 at the Elmen Center. 
“Even being nominated was amazing,” Symington said. “There’s so much history with Viking Days and to be part of it was amazing.” 
Symington was crowned alongside fellow senior Audrey Cope.
“I think Layne was chosen as king because he genuinely knows and cares for his peers at Augustana, and people love and appreciate him for his friendship,” Cope said. “He is incredibly connected, and if you spent a day on campus, you would most likely see him checking in on people and making them feel at home on campus.”
Symington, whose family moved to Brandon when he was in the second grade, said he felt similar emotions when he was BV’s homecoming king.
“I was honestly kind of shocked,” Symington said. “A bunch of people told me, ‘I voted for you’ and I was like, ‘oh cool, thanks,’ but I wasn’t expecting it. I was super grateful and super thankful for all of my classmates.”
Symington, who’s a senior, is studying German, all-grades education and international studies. He had planned to improve his German in Potsdam, Germany from this past March to August, but COVID-19 had other plans.
“Potsdam is Sioux Falls’ sister city, so I was supposed to be there until Aug. 1,” Symington said. “I got sent home 10 days in, but honestly, I’d rather be safe than sorry.”
Despite having to quarantine in one of Augustana’s on-campus houses after returning to Sioux Falls, Symington said he’s grateful for the experience and looks forward to visiting in the future and potentially teaching abroad.
When asked about his plans following graduation, he said, “Great question. I would really like to be a middle school or high school German teacher.” 
For Symington, his plan to be a teacher stems from some of his own teachers, like Brady Olson, who teaches seventh grade geography at Brandon Valley Middle School.
“I never even had him as a teacher, but I did an internship my senior year [of high school]—it was kind of like job shadowing [with Olson],” Symington said. “That [experience] is one of the biggest reasons I am an education major.” 
The two still keep in touch. Symington said Olson even texted him a couple hours after he was crowned at Augustana with congratulations. 
With his involvement in both student council and countless music activities at BVHS, it comes as no surprise that Symington named the high school as his favorite spot in Brandon.
“I’m so thankful for everything the high school has done for me,” Symington said. 
During his time at BVHS, Symington was involved in a variety of music-centric activities. 
“There was one point where I was in, like, three different music ensembles at a time,” Symington said, smiling. “During marching band season, I would get to the high school at 6:15 a.m. and leave at 9 p.m. every day.” 
Symington’s heavy involvement in school activities carried over into his college career as he continues to be involved in band at Augustana. In previous years, he was also involved in the percussion ensemble, the Welcome Week committee, the German conversation table and was a Viking Guide for incoming freshmen. 
“I feel like I try to get to know as many people on campus as possible,” Symington said. “That’s the thing I love about Augie: It’s big enough that you’re still meeting new people in your fourth year, but it’s small enough that there’s still that sense of community.” 
Symington said both Brandon Valley and Augustana are tight-knit communities and great places to call home. 
“I’m just super grateful for both of the experiences,” Symington said. “Both places have shaped me into who I am today.”


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