Each year, high schools across America host a homecoming football game and dance to welcome students back to the new school year. Homecoming has always been a great opportunity to unite RM students around our passionate school spirit. Over the years, however, the homecoming court has become a subject of controversy.
The homecoming court is comprised of a group of seniors chosen to hold various titles at the homecoming dance, such as the queen, king, prince, princess, duke, and duchess. Here at Richard Montgomery, seniors choose the members of the homecoming court by voting for fellow students.
Some students believe that the homecoming court selection process is merely a popularity contest. These students think that the court titles give more attention to people who are already well-known around the school. These opponents of the homecoming court believe that this tradition should either be modified to include a wider range of students or should be eliminated altogether.
However, many students disagree and say that homecoming court is more than a senseless popularity competition. They believe that the homecoming court is a fun tradition that brings together the senior class and provides entertainment for all students. They also deny the claim that homecoming is entirely popularity-centric, and refer to examples of homecoming winners that moved from outside of the country to show the diversity of past courts.
When asked about the controversy behind the homecoming court selection, freshmen class president Pranav Tadikonda said, “I do believe it is a fair selection because all students have an opportunity to advocate for themselves. It is really about getting themselves out rather than relying on their popularity.”
Senior John Milton noted that the popularity of the homecoming court is not what we should focus on: “The people who win usually are more popular, but the whole point of homecoming court is to have fun with it. Winning is just an added bonus.”
One freshman agreed and added, “I’m pretty sure people are too busy hanging out, dancing, and meeting people at the food bar to worry about popularity.”
On top of that, there are others who feel that the titles “king” and “queen” should be replaced to avoid enforcing gender roles. Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Montgomery County has done just that. They have substituted gendered court labels with broader titles such as “homecoming royalty.”
BCC has embraced the idea of a gender-neutral homecoming court, allowing transgender students to label themselves as whatever identity they please. This has caused many to wonder if RM will follow in their footsteps.
“I feel that it is a wonderful idea,” said Tadikonda when asked about making gender neutral homecoming court titles at RM. “But for many students in the community, especially upperclassmen, it would be hard to adjust to. This is a tradition, and it is better kept that way.”
At the end of the day, homecoming is meant to be a fun and memorable experience. Although the court election process could be improved, it is a tradition that unites the school and allows students to express their love for RM.