Opinion: Homecoming process should be improved

Food drives, inner class competitions, Bengal Olympics, Homecoming royalty, football games, and dances are all activities that have previously surrounded Lewiston High School’s Homecoming. Homecoming was initially meant for LHS alumni, people who have graduated from LHS, to “come home” and visit their old high school campus.
The Youth Activity Center (YAC) started the idea of having Homecoming royalty in Lewiston in 1951. In an interview with The Bengal’s Purr, the first LHS homecoming queen, Carole Ruark (formerly McIntire), shared how Homecoming looked when she was elected.

Carole McIntire Ruark was the first LHS Homecoming Queen in 1951. (Courtesy of Steven Branting.)

According to Ruark, the football team elected the Homecoming royalty, which consisted of a court of three seniors, two princesses and a queen, plus two juniors, both princesses. There was no male court, but the Homecoming royalty members were supposed to represent the football team. The co-captain of the football team crowned Ruark at the YAC in Lewiston, rather than at the game. There was no float at the football game itself.
“It was a great honor,” Ruark remembered.
Much has changed since the original Homecoming football games, both at LHS and in society. At LHS there is now a male court, and many activities that previously surrounded the Homecoming football game have since gone away.
According to the Lewiston Tribune archives, in the past, students participated in inner class competitions the entire week before the Homecoming game. Students would decorate hallways, have food drives, and participate in the Bengal Olympics to “determine the most spirited class.”
Although it may be traditional to have the varsity football players vote for Homecoming royalty, it is the opinion of this writer that it’s time to change how LHS votes. All students should have the right to vote for both the prince and the princess in their grade. In a society where inclusion is increasingly important, one way that LHS can be inclusive is by allowing all students to vote for Homecoming royalty.
Currently at LHS, only varsity athletes participating in a fall sport are allowed to nominate and vote for Homecoming royalty members. The male varsity athletes vote for the Homecoming queen and her court, and the female varsity athletes vote for the Homecoming king and his court. This is an outdated process that needs to change.
In the past, the Homecoming royalty has been a representation of the football team. When considering who should be nominated for Homecoming royalty these days, the real question is: “Who represents LHS well?” If the question asks who represents the entire school and not just the football team, then everyone deserves a vote. Other schools around the country have already begun changing their Homecoming voting process to make it more inclusive, including Clarkston High School (CHS).
According to Greta Boreson, a senior ASB leader at CHS, each grade has its own section of Google Classroom, and a Google Form goes out asking students to nominate who they believe is fit for Homecoming royalty. The ASB then takes the top three nominees in each class and makes a new post allowing students in each grade to vote for whichever male and female candidate they feel should be royalty for their grade.
The modern way that CHS votes for Homecoming royalty is much more inclusive than the process at LHS. Many students are actively involved in the school but currently cannot vote for Homecoming royalty. Everyone should be able to nominate and vote for whom they believe is fit to represent the school.
Several varsity athletes who voted for Homecoming royalty this year shared that they believe the entire school should have a say with Homecoming royalty. This will allow people who participate in school activities to vote, even if they are not varsity athletes.
The traditional way of voting for Homecoming royalty needs to be updated. Being in the Homecoming royalty court has always been an incredible honor. Still, if the royalty is supposed to represent the entire school and no longer represent just the football team, then everyone deserves the right to vote.
The other issue with the LHS process is that two grade levels are not well-represented by varsity sports. Most varsity sports teams have few, if any, freshmen and sophomores on them, which poses another problem when voting for Homecoming royalty: the freshman and sophomores are not being elected by their classmates. Many upperclassmen do not have much contact with the underclassmen and therefore do not know who represents LHS well within those classes.
Changing royalty elections will allow for more inclusion and representation of the student body. Not everyone involved in the school is a varsity athlete, but they all still deserve the right to vote.