All Hail the Homecoming Court
It’s an age-old story.The most popular girl and boy in school have been depicted hearing their names called, having their crowns placed on their heads, and walking into the crowd to share their first dance as homecoming king and queen. Time and time again, homecoming has been shown by Hollywood in scenes such as the unpopular girl who ends up being elected queen, to the most popular girl in school claiming the title that was once her grandmother’s, mother’s, and now, hers. This, however, isn’t exactly how coronation unfolds in the modern day high school. While not everyone expects to be homecoming queen, many students strive for the honor, and some are indifferent to the tradition as a whole.
While it may seem that the idea of a homecoming court does more harm than good, the homecoming court tradition does have its positives. It is a very good incentive for students to get involved in the community and represent the school positively. It lets students celebrate each other for their contributions to the school and by voting for their peers, lets them feel like they truly have a voice at their high school. Also, being nominated to the court means being recognized and is an accomplishment that students will look back on and be proud of. While it may seem trivial to some, these are the experiences that make lasting memories and make high school something to cherish for many people.
There are some negatives to appointing a high school homecoming court. The obvious repercussion of this system is the possible feeling of exclusion from those whose names don’t even appear on the ballot throughout their four years of high school. Although these feelings are only human and hard to avoid in any situation, high school can be difficult for some, and not making it on the homecoming court can be a hard pill to swallow. While most people, students and adults alike, don’t disclose the hurt that can come with not being chosen, it’s a common effect that schools should keep in mind. Students are forced to suppress their disappointment for fear of ruining the tradition of homecoming court for their peers on the ballot or of challenging an honor that has been bestowed from generation to generation.
However, the students hurt the most are generally those on the ballot who never make it to that long-anticipated, official crowning ceremony. Being on the ballot means that these students were chosen to represent their school community and are looked up to by their peers. The students who appear on the ballot, but are not on the court, are nominated by their teachers only to not be elected to the court by their peers. Not being elected to the court by their fellow students could possibly have a poor effect on students’ self-esteem because it seems that the whole school knew that they were considered but chose to vote for another nominee instead.
Teenagers strive for their fellow peers’ approval more than anything else, and to not receive it can be difficult for some. Although it feels like students are out of the woods after they are selected for the court, there still can only be one winner of each gender. Not all five can be crowned king and queen. It is seen as an honor to even be part of the court, but when the crown is in arms’ length, it’s hard not to be disappointed when you don’t win.Ultimately, a feeling of acceptance is something that we all share, regardless of our willingness to admit it.
There are ways that the system of homecoming court can be improved in order to make it a worthwhile experience for all students. Right now, students can be on the ballot, elected for the court, and even be crowned the king or queen multiple times. As a general rule, high schools should not allow students to be on the court more than once and should not appear on the ballot again in order to give other students a chance.The past kings and queens can still be included in the ceremony through various means such as handing down the crown to their successor or recounting their year as high school royalty. The purpose of homecoming is to unite the school and therefore should not exclude any, but rather include all.
By instituting some slight changes to the process of selecting the court, the tradition as a whole can defy the stereotypes and be an even better way to recognize all students and the school as a whole. The homecoming court, although a very old tradition, still serves it’s purpose in modern day high schools and hopefully will continue its long reign for years to come.
Graphic Credit: Caitlin Eder