Homecoming court election changes encourage diversity

With last year being the first year where males were represented, Student Council tried to divert Homecoming elections from being a popularity contest to more of an inclusive representation of the student body by changing the election process.

“One of the biggest things we wanted to improve was making our court diverse,” senior Gerson Melton said. “That’s why we made it especially important that you can only vote in your own grade.” 

The nomination process looked different compared to other years. Students could only nominate those in their graduating class, as opposed to the whole student body. 

“This year’s court looked completely different and I think it’s a great representation of each grade because sophomores might just go off of a senior’s name they recognize, and it becomes more of a popularity contest versus who should represent our school,” senior Emily Reaves said. “I really appreciate it.” 

Students believe the restrictions can make the process easier. 

“I feel like you know people in your own grade a little bit better,” senior Helen Klare Keith said. “You’re not just voting for random names that you’ve seen on Instagram or heard someone talk about and you just randomly click because you recognize it.” 

Students had feedback on the new changes with the new nomination process. 

“It makes sure that it’s people that are liked and are really representing the grade instead of somebody that may have a younger or older sibling that gets all the votes from the people in their sibling’s grade,” Melton said. “It’s really important that we have people who best represent their grade and are more diverse.” 

Springdale High School had similar feelings and hopes to make homecoming more inclusive to their students. 

“In the past, students were nominated and then voted on by the student body. Unfortunately, that process is very outdated and only allows for the popular vote to determine the court,” Kristina Curl, Springdale High School’s student council sponsor, said. “Popular vote does not give way to include the many different and wonderful students here at SHS.” 

Springdale High School took a different approach when it came to changing the way their court is chosen. Instead of only allowing students to vote for peers in their grade, Springdale High School has a more extensive process. 

“We have an application process that includes several short answer questions, and an essay question for seniors who are competing for King and Queen,” Curl said. “The applications are then scored by a panel of judges which determines the court members.” 

Another key difference between the two schools is that the winners of homecoming king and queen at Springdale High School are both rewarded with a $500 scholarship. 

Not all things have changed at Har-Ber or Springdale. One tradition that still stands is that only seniors are eligible to be chosen for homecoming king and queen, and they are chosen by the entire school. 

“This year the only difference is that each class has an individual voting nomination form,” Natalie Davey, Har-Ber’s STUCO sponsor, said. “When we actually vote on the King and Queen, that is released to the entire student body.”