Typical high school traditions include football games, rallies, dances, and one of the most exciting, yet controversial, of all — royal courts.
The results of the most recent homecoming court incited strong emotions in many students across Twitter feeds. Students accused student representatives of rigging the nominations due to the court consisting of “not-so-popular” students, unlike the typical expectations of a homecoming court where only the popular people are chosen. Others expressed their thoughts on “self-promotion” as a way to make it on court.
Self-promotion may range from personally begging others for nominations or posting pictures of oneself on social media with captions asking people to nominate them.
“Personally, I feel like [self] promoting has pros and cons; everyone has the right to do it, and there are no rules against [self] promoting, but . . . I feel like it doesn’t allow students to think for themselves,” senior homecoming court nominee Nisreen Sharideh said. “There are so many positives, but it’s taken very [negatively], too.”
The process for Bear Creek’s royal courts has remained simple for years. For homecoming, seniors nominate six princesses and six princes for court, and those with the most nominations are put on court. Winterfest is the same process, but teachers nominate the seniors. Prom is also similar, but seniors nominate only half of court while juniors nominate the other half.
Currently, no written rules or prerequisites exist for court nominees at Bear Creek. One unwritten rule is that no student may be on more than one court in one school year.
Some students say there should be a few prerequisites for anyone on court.
“I think that [royal courts] should [allow] a wider variety of people on campus to run for or be on,” ASB Commissioner of Activities Jenna Collins said. “I do however think that at least a 2.0 [GPA] and a clear record for behavior is something that should definitely be required.”
Other schools in the district such as McNair and Chavez allow students to run for homecoming and prom court through an essay or interview process. Some prerequisites include having at least a 2.0 GPA, no money dues, and fewer than four unexcused absences in the school year.
“I think there should be [prerequisites] for court,” senior Kirsten Weber said. “Court is representing Bear Creek and the BRUIN Way, so the people on it should be as well.”
Some argue that there should be no prerequisites because each person is different. However, there is currently no plan to implement any written rules for royal courts.
“As long as they are deemed as a generally good person [by the students], I don’t think they should have restrictions,” junior Kimberly Hoang said.
Homecoming and prom courts are generally perceived as popularity contests, whereas Winterfest court is seen as recognition of the “smart people.”
“I don’t think [homecoming and prom court] should continue to be a popularity contest because it doesn’t seem like a lot of students are satisfied with the idea,” senior Kyra Chhiu-Lim said. “There’s always drama and talk after court [is chosen], and [students] are kind of asking for the process to be changed.”
Recently, Green Bay West High School’s student council in Wisconsin officially removed homecoming court.
“They felt like maybe it was best to help out their peers and try something different, which is to not have a court and to be inclusive of everybody,” Green Bay High Principal Mark Flaten said in an interview with Fox 11 News.
Some students also say that the nomination process should be changed due to possible cheating. Currently, a handful of ballots are handed out to each senior English class; the number of ballots is not counted to match the number of students in the class. Therefore, there may be leftover ballots that teachers might hand out or students might take.
Many students anticipate that the nomination process will be online, similar to the new voting process just implemented for the last homecoming court. Students received a survey in their school email where they are able to vote for one queen and one king.
“I think the court should be nominated or voted for all online on our email like we did for the vote for queen and king,” Weber said regarding the ideal way for courts to be nominated.
“The new online method is better in my perspective,” Hoang said. “People are allowed to only have one vote, and it decreases the chance of rigging the ballots. Plus, it should be faster and more efficient in collecting the results.”