By: Amber Avila and Crystal Earl
Homecoming has been an annual tradition in many high schools and colleges throughout the United States since the 19th century. It is a major part of American culture and is an event students look forward to throughout their high school experience. The event begins with a football game played on the school’s home field. The next night, at a dance or banquet students and alumni come together to enjoy a night of dancing.
One of the most well known aspects of Homecoming is the court, where students are voted to the roles of duke, duchess, prince, princess, and most importantly king and queen. This election of “royals” has always been one of the most famous and anticipated elements of Homecoming.
Traditionally, people that compete for Homecoming court are very involved in school in order to increase their popularity. With a small school, this would be easier to achieve as most people know each other and can accurately form opinions about candidates. However, with a larger school like Granada Hills Charter (GHC), this is harder to achieve because it’s almost impossible that every student will know each candidate.
Since the majority of the people voting for the court do not know the candidates, in reality, it becomes a popularity and beauty contest. Candidates are judged based on their pictures posted on the walls around school rather than on their personality and contributions to the school. Without being aware of character and what candidates can contribute to the school, Homecoming court just becomes a meaningless victory.
There are a variety of ways in which Homecoming elections can be improved to better encapsulate the nature of the student body and allow for a more involved and legitimate court. To emulate a more democratic form of nomination, students running for Homecoming court should campaign rather than simply provide a name and a face.
More along the lines of our own American democracy, rather than running for individual or even team positions, nominees for the court could create more of an administration. In this way, students can vote for a team of people, each with their own responsibilities, who will work together to contribute to Homecoming activities and best include the desires of their respective grades.
Moreover, these new Homecoming administrations can combine individual nominees from each class (duke/duchess, prince/princess, king/queen) into one “party” to diminish the separation of grade level within the Homecoming activities. This would make more sense, considering that Homecoming is an event in which all students participate, rather than the prom held towards the end of the school year for seniors.
There should also be events in which students speak and debate to create a true election. By allowing candidates to express their ideas and potential contributions to Homecoming activities, students would be more likely to vote based off of quality rather than simply beauty. In this fashion, the playing field can be leveled for all Homecoming nominees, and the winning candidates would be able to make actual contributions.
While voting based off of merit rather than looks best constitutes the interest of the school, it also shapes students into better leaders, thus allowing for candidates to pursue involvement in the student body beyond Homecoming. Likewise, constituents would be better prepared for life after high school, in which they will have the ability to vote for actual government representatives.
Diminishing Homecoming as a popularity contest not only creates a more respectful and active campus environment, but it also puts real-world activities into perspective for the future generations of our nation.