The underclassmen courts

Students divided over the new addition to Homecoming

Seniors Ej Faal (right) and Leina Young (left) campaign together, both hoping for victory. Faal made bracelets that said “Vote Ej” and passed them out at school. 
	Photo montage from Ej Faal’s Instagram story.

Seniors Ej Faal (right) and Leina Young (left) campaign together, both hoping for victory. Faal made bracelets that said “Vote Ej” and passed them out at school. Photo montage from Ej Faal’s Instagram story.

Sparkling lights, glittering dresses, the Friday night football game, are all things we associate with homecoming. During the pep-rally, the underclassmen would stare longing from the bleachers as seniors performed humorous skits on the gym floor, in awe of how their older peers could do this without embarrassment. Normally, the senior class elects twenty candidates to the royalty court. The underclassmen aren’t involved in the election portion of the event.

That’s changing this year.

Now, the freshmen, sophomore, and junior class elect two people to their own courts. The process starts with self-nomination, then the grades voted for the people they wished to represent their class. This election is completely separate from the upperclassmen voting court, which also starts with self-nomination.

“I think having more of the school participating in homecoming, the more fun it will be for the school as a whole,” senior and SCA President Alex Ahedo said. “The underclassmen get their own separate court so they can still be involved.”

Underclassmen are the majority in attendance at the actual dance. As a general understanding, upperclassmen tend to skip it in favor of other activities, such as a dinner in DC.

That leads into the big question: do underclassmen deserve to have their own courts if they are the ones who participate most in the dance?

“Most of the people who go to homecoming are underclassmen so it is only fair if they receive something that increases their enjoyment of the homecoming traditions,” Ahedo said. “It is so fun for all the classes to see who would be put on the court from their class.”

The new idea was proposed by the SCA in order to encourage inclusion of all grades.

“We thought the entire school would be more invested if it was not just limited to seniors,” SCA sponsor Jamee Robinson said. “Seniors have a lot of events that mark their final year in school, but Homecoming is for everyone.”

However, not all agree.

“It just seems like it’s taking away from the seniors,” senior Melinna Wightman said. “I can see the juniors having their own court, but other than that I don’t like it.”

According to Wightman, underclassmen should not have their own court because they are too new to the school. They haven’t experienced all four years, and therefore, can’t appreciate the time and persistence it requires to reap the senior benefits.

“I think it’s unfair to the juniors and seniors,” sophomore Jordan Garman said. “Having the underclassmen more involved just seems unnecessary.”

Many students worried that this would be the start to the removal of more senior privileges.

“The underclassmen courts have no effect on the senior court or any of their traditions,” Ahedo said. “The underclassmen only receive a small recognition during the homecoming pep rally. They do not walk out during the football game or perform a skit, which are the seniors’ traditions.”

The inclusion that the SCA is seeking seems to come at the cost of seniors’ anger.

“Underclassmen should not have more participation,” senior Kimberly Terry said. “They can do homecoming court in their senior year. It’s a thing to look forward to, just like prom. It will be harder for us seniors to have that experience we waited for.”

In addition, a handful of underclassmen expressed their own concern with the change.

“I think it’s kind of dumb to have underclassmen up there on the court,” sophomore Katelyn Lederman said. “I don’t think it will make it less enjoyable, but I think it might give some students a “superiority complex,” because they’ll be like “I was on hoco court when I was a sophomore.”

In contrast, many underclassmen are excited about their courts.

“It’s really cool,” freshmen Brooklyn Dungan said. “Everyone gets a say.”

While the student body might be at odds regarding the homecoming courts, the senior class candidates have still been campaigning hard. Instagram is flooded with posters and videos to rally the support of voters.

“I still don’t feel great about it,” junior Ava Pietrzak said. “Lots of the seniors don’t want to go because of it, and now that I’m an upperclassmen a ton of my friends are refusing to go as well.”

Some of the challenges of this change still need to be ironed out.

“We are still working out the logistics,” Robinson said. “For example, when, where, and how do we recognize the underclassmen court while also balancing recognizing that this is seniors’ last Homecoming, especially with this current senior class who, at the present time, have had their high school experience most affected by COVID?”

The compromise was as follows: recognizing the underclassmen at the pep rally and leaving the tradition of recognizing the female court at the football game.

“I would love to see the Court as a representation of school spirit,” Robinson said. “For example, some schools base the Homecoming Court on who dresses up the most for Spirit Week and the Homecoming “King” is crowned based on student votes after having seen costumes and such. The SCA will be discussing the format of the Court in the future and will probably put together some sort of device to collect student thoughts.”

Seniors Ej Faal (right) and Leina Young (left) campaign together, both hoping for victory. Faal made bracelets that said “Vote Ej” and passed them out at school.
Photo montage from Ej Faal’s Instagram story.