Homecoming traditions should change

Taryn Robinson, Opinions Editor

Selecting for a student king and queen to represent our school is a tradition that was continued last week with a vote during Advisory to select our choices as winter Homecoming royalty. 

Voting for a boy and girl as royalty has been a part of the many homecoming events at MHS for as long as anyone can remember. As soon as we hear Homecoming is coming, everyone knows voting is approaching. Even though it is a long-standing tradition, The Mentor Editorial Board agrees that voting for a king and queen shouldn’t be a part of homecoming.

First, at MHS, there are some students who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. More recently, it is more socially acceptable in the world if you are a part of this group. Even though it is more acceptable now, members of this community are hardly ever nominated or crowned king or queen. Removing the crowing would make this group more acceptable in MHS. 

Another problem with crowning a king and queen is that some people prefer to be called them/they because they are non-binary. If we continue to crown just a king and just a queen, it leaves out people who don’t specifically identify as male or female.

To be nominated for homecoming king or queen, you have to be a senior, voted on by your club or activity. According to statistics from Activities Director Larry Meyers, over the past 12 years, 78% of the representatives from clubs were officers or captains of the activity they represented

After all the homecoming candidates’ names are called out, the king and queen are crowned in front of an audience while all the other nominees stand applauding behind them. Some of those who are nominated but not chosen as king or queen have their souls crushed right there in front of the crowd. They were chosen by their club to represent and possibly win, but when they don’t, it feels as if they lost the biggest race of their high school experience. 

But, the thing is, they really don’t win anything. They are given a plastic crown, a plaque with their name on it and possibly a bouquet of flowers to go with it. Winning homecoming king or queen often seems like the biggest competition in life to high school students, when really no one will remember who one or what it was like to be a nominee 10-20 years from now.

For the two people who are chosen, it makes it seem like they are more important than all the other nominees, which is not true. The people who are “crowned royalty” are almost always chosen because of their popularity, not because of the things they do or the time they devote to their clubs. It almost seems like if you are known by a large group of people at MHS, you are guaranteed to win, no matter how much you impact the school.

For the people that care about being known at MHS, homecoming is a huge deal to them. This is because if they win, it gives them the certainty that they succeeded in their mission to be popular. If they don’t win, they get really upset because they failed at achieving the biggest triumph in life. 

This thought process is mainly from the queen-side of the homecoming royalty “race.” The way our society is, especially in high school, women especially are almost predicted or expected to compete with other women. This really creates a toxic environment as it destroys bonds with friends because of something as stupid as wearing a crown.

Instead of voting for a king or queen, the seniors who are selected to represent their club should get recognized. Recognition would include being announced and standing in the middle of the court/field, announcing names and what club they represent. They could be handed flowers or some other gift from other members of their club who would be there to support them. This would prevent anyone from LGBTQIA+ from being left out and so that everyone is recognized for their own contributions and successes, preventing homecoming from being a popularity war.