The never-ending popularity contest that is homecoming court

Giselle Barajas

While multiple colleges claim to have held the first homecoming, they all were involved in the start of what the modern-day traditional homecoming is like.
The first homecoming celebrations included a home football game where alumni were welcomed to return, as well as many school-spirited festivities such as parades and reunion parties. However, there seems to be no mention of a homecoming court in the origins of “homecoming.” So why is there a homecoming court in almost every high school and college homecoming today?
In every high school, the fight to become the school’s homecoming king and queen is very competitive. Homecoming court quickly became a huge popularity contest where some students would feel less worthy or neglected for not being nominated or holding the title of king or queen.
Now that we are in college, as a first-year student I expected more than to continue the superficial high school tradition of electing a homecoming king and queen. Here at Augustana, different organizations including Greek life, Student Government Association, the Office of Student Life and more nominate whoever they would like to see on the homecoming court. Students can then vote for who they want to see crowned as king and queen.
The fact that students can just nominate whoever they please without any credible reason is already a big step into making homecoming court a popularity contest. The only people who are going to get nominated and crowned are students who are voted for simply by being more well-known on campus. Frankly, I think we all are too old to still deal with a childish popularity contest for king and queen.
Due to the fact we’re a small college, it is more likely for this campus to have “popular” students than in a bigger school, since it’s easier to know or recognize most of the students on campus here. However, that doesn’t make it okay for the school to endorse a means of what is usually affiliated with a popularity contest.
A better way to keep the almost 90-year homecoming court tradition is for students to be nominated from faculty for academic achievements or outstanding involvements in the school. This way, students don’t feel neglected if they aren’t nominated and, if anything, it could be a way to motivate students to be more involved and work hard.
I’m pretty sure we would all love if this year’s homecoming court winners just broke their crowns and shared their royal title with everyone else like Cady Heron did in “Mean Girls” when she was crowned Spring Fling queen.
Unfortunately, though that’s not going to be the case. Thus, for now to ensure this doesn’t turn into some childish popularity contest, it’s best to just make sure our friends and peers feel worthy as people, while not feeding into the egos of those who think they’re better because of some worthless title. News flash: it’s not really an accomplishment to win king or queen.