After a long-time absence of school-wide dances, Berkeley High School’s Homecoming dance will be held this year. On top of the school-wide surprise regarding the return of the beloved dance, many students find themselves deeply excited. The return of the Homecoming dance comes with another tradition, Homecoming Royalty. Homecoming Royalty nominees are the people thought to best represent each of their small learning communities, and this practice provides the perfect chance to unify BHS, highlight certain members of the community, and add a little bit of extra fun and excitement to the event.
Many students are excited to nominate someone as a representative of their small school, vote, or participate in any other manner. It is a fun way to learn about new people and celebrate friends and peers. Every small learning community is included, allowing every student the opportunity to participate in both the nomination and the voting process. Though participation in the voting process isn’t mandatory, it is encouraged, giving all BHS students the opportunity to spotlight their peers and share their appreciation for the people in their communities.
Some might comment on how in media and film, school dance royalty is usually only portrayed in one way: popular, heterosexual couples. However, BHS students possess the power to break down barriers and challenge the stereotypes of what royalty should be. BHS has such a diverse community, and anybody can be nominated for Homecoming Royalty. It is refreshing for students to be given the chance to vote for the people who truly deserve to be recognized as leaders and representatives of their small schools and for all that they have to offer.
Though some might think that allowing BHS to have student-chosen Homecoming Royalty promotes harmful competition, it actually encourages good behavior and community involvement. This isn’t much of a competition or election. Though there are winners, nominees aren’t campaigning for themselves. They are simply voted for based on how well they are thought to be representative of their learning community.
On top of this, anybody who doesn’t want to participate in the event is not forced to. Students should remember that a beneficial aspect of participating in the voting process for Homecoming Royalty is getting to know more about the nominees.
The purpose of Homecoming Royalty is to add excitement and intrigue to Homecoming festivities, while also providing a positive environment for students to have a spotlight. While Homecoming Royalty keep students engaged and involved in the dance festivities, it also does a lot more for the BHS student body. It provides students the opportunity to support one another, challenge stereotypes, and overall, strengthen the community at BHS.
– Ava Ramsdale, Staff Writer
Going out with friends, shopping for formal wear, and cute Homecoming proposals all seem like fun experiences, leading up to a fantastic night of dancing that will unite students. However, that isn’t the case. With the inclusion of Homecoming Royalty into this years Homecoming dance, behind all of this glamour lies a popularity contest that will cause unnecessary tension. Homecoming Royalty is an overrated high school tradition that encourages division and endorses toxic ideas about social hierarchy.
Although the title of Homecoming Royalty can carry a lot of pride and endow a sense of belonging for students, it promotes toxic favoritism amongst the student body. Students must fit into specific categories and boxes that allow them to be viewed as candidates for royalty, and therefore, get nominated. There’s little chance that students who aren’t seen as social butterflies will be uplifted, so the tradition becomes a clear popularity contest amongst well-known and respected students who already enjoy the privileges of being popular. Gaining the title of Homecoming Royalty simply boosts existing status and causes tension within the student body, due to the continuation of an enforced attention hierarchy.
Homecoming is supposed to be centered around students enjoying themselves, and, realistically speaking, the students who will enjoy themselves the most will be those who win. There is no way that a popularity contest can unite BHS when all it does is cultivate negative emotions and feelings within the student body.
When competition is governed by surface level factors, whatever intended meaning it has is lost to its impact: extensive self-esteem damage for students. Not being voted for may make them question their likeability, physical appearance, and personality. None of these should be judged based on a popularity contest where those who are already respected are competing to be recognized even more. This perpetuates the outdated ideas of fitting in with conventional beauty standards, which forms a false narrative and standard of what makes people worthy.
Although some say high school royalty is a harmless and fun tradition that is solely meant to spice up the night and add a healthy amount of suspense and fun, creating a popularity contest to provide a few hours of entertainment is not worth the long-lasting division it builds. It can create a lot of anxiety and unease about social status, which is the last thing students need, considering all the chronic stress and anxiety they are already experiencing. Rather than challenging pre-existing narratives, it perpetuates them, and damages students in the process. Therefore, Homecoming Royalty is a tradition better forgotten. It opposes the progressive stances that BHS claims to uphold and harms students and their confidence.
– Philippa Zlatev, Staff Writer