Traditionally, homecoming queens are cheerleaders, or perhaps star athletes. But Hesperia High's recently crowned queen, Mika Bell, has always been different. She's a devoted member of the marching band and drum line, drumming up school spirit with her cymbals.


"I've been in the Hesperia Days parade six times, and I played at Disneyland,"she said.


Mika's life began unlike any of her fellow Scorpions. Her mother had met a U.S. Marine stationed on the Japanese Island of Okinawa. Jerry Bell, who had spent two years at the University of Maryland before entering the service in the late 1980s, had enough understanding of the Japanese language to converse with her mother, Fumiyo.


"For six months we spoke nothing but Japanese," her father said.


Finally, her mother admitted that she had the equivalent of an associates degree in English, and the couple began courting in English, as well.


Bell's parents had a tradition Japanese wedding. The couple agreed that he would name their boys, and she would name their girls.


In 1992, a girl was born when the couple was visiting in the U.S. Her mother called her Mika.


"My name means 'beautiful flower' or 'cute mosquito,'" Mika said.


After the family returned to Japan, a boy, who her father named Steve, was born. Several years later, the family moved to Hesperia, where her paternal great-grandmother had moved earlier.


Early on Mika Bell seemed destined for leadership. At Cottonwood Elementary she ran for school vice-president and won. Currently she's president of the French Club.


"I speak Japanese, English, French and very little Spanish," she said.


A turning point for Mika occurred during her sophomore year, however, when she enrolled in Upward Bound, a program which provides college preparation for high schoolers. Through the program, which is affiliated with Victor Valley College, she already has amassed 17 college units.


"By the end of high school she'll have 24 or 25 college units," he father noted.


Mika is proud of her Japanese heritage, but says her father's American roots "makes me feel like I fit in more."


She participates in Link Crew, a program in which upperclassmen mentor incoming high school freshmen. She's also participated in numerous high school programs including golf, cross country and track. She even tried out for a musical. She's also given numerous hours to her church's food ministry.


"She's a big giver, and she has a lovely personality," her father said.


But is passionate about the Black & Gold Regiment and Drumline. When she was officially presented as homecoming queen during Hesperia High's Sept. 25th football game, she rode around the track in a convertible with her proud father. When they got to the band's location, the band members stood up and blasted a crowd favorite in honor of their own royalty.


"They played 'Hey, Baby' the loudest they've ever played. It was really amazing. They played their hearts and souls out."


Editor's note: Mika Bell can be seen in a music video available on YouTube entitled "World! Wide! Love!" by Hitomi. "I'm the one with the yellow flower," she says. After graduation next May, she plans on being a liberal arts major at VVC and then transferring to Cal State San Bernardino. "I plan to be a teacher, preferably second or third grade."