The Changes Coming to Homecoming Court


Photo By Sela Valignota

Students during a passing period walk by the new Homecoming poster, which announces the Starry Night theme. The poster was designed by sophomore Jessica Wrobel, who is a part of the Homecoming Committee.

     On Friday, Sept. 3, Kaneland High School principal Jill Maras sent a letter to the community announcing the administrative decision to change Kaneland’s Homecoming Court. While the 10-person court will continue to be voted on by the student body, instead of two individuals being the final, we will only have one.

     “After much discussion with the Administration Team and Student Council members, it has been decided that we will continue to vote for individuals, and beginning this year, the top 10 vote-getters will become the Homecoming Court and the top vote-getter will become the Royal Knight,” Maras said in her letter.

     During Homecoming and Prom seasons, the tradition has been to vote for two individuals – one boy and one girl – from the elected Royal Court and to then announce them as King and Queen. However, Kaneland has undergone a series of consistent changes to the Court, and Maras explained that this has been continuous for the past few years.

     “It’s kind of been a progressive change – both with Homecoming and Prom. So probably I want to say about nine years ago, instead of being the student body picking the top 10 people who would be the Homecoming Court, they switched it to being representatives of the clubs, activities and sports,” Maras said.

     While there have been changes to the Court in the past, this year’s Homecoming will be the first time Kaneland’s royal elective will consist of just one individual. 

     “The final change for Homecoming has been to continue the changes that have been made and then just instead of doing a declared King or Queen to move it to one Royal Knight,” Maras said.

     Maras says that there have been multiple reasons for the administration’s most recent decision. The main goal they kept in mind was to strive for comfort and inclusivity for their students.

     “Being inclusive is definitely a part of it,” Maras said. “And even as we’ve done it in the past, we would’ve said it’s the top male and the top female. Well, what if the top two votes were both female? Or they were both male? Or they were both unidentified, you know? Why did we ever say that it had to be the one top female and the one top male and just be putting those identities around it?”

     Another major factor that came into play was how the two individuals voted onto the Royal Court were commonly not a couple, so they could be forced into a less than ideal situation due to their elected roles.”

     “The other thing, for years now, the King and Queen – both at Prom and Homecoming – have never been identified as a couple coming to the Prom or the Homecoming. And so they get announced, and there’s supposed to be this first dance,” Maras said. “It’s just a socially awkward piece that, once again, what’s the benefit of doing it that way?”

     After the announcement of the change, many students have been vocal about their thoughts and opinions. Sophomore Linda Ray is a member of the Student Council and was one of the first people to hear of the new changes. While many have found it controversial and others are in full support of the decision, Ray has taken a neutral standpoint.

     “I don’t agree or disagree. I think it’ll be beneficial in some aspects, and in other aspects students may be unhappy about the change,” Ray said. “I don’t think it was entirely necessary, but I understand it for the best.”

     Ray has also been able to hear other students’ opinions and thoughts on the new policy. Many rumors have been circulating amongst the student body; a popular one depicts the administration’s decision as having been based on growing sensitivity towards gender identities.

     “So many students are starting rumors that it’s based on gender, and that’s not correct. I think it’s unfair that people are thinking this way when that’s not why the administration made the change,” Ray said.

     The students’ voices have not gone unnoticed. Maras explained that gender inclusivity wasn’t their main objective, however it is included with their intentions.

     “I think our goal at Kaneland is to always make the students feel acknowledged and supported and a part of who we are,” Maras said. “Inclusivity, not based on just gender but all kinds of inclusivity, will always be our goal.” 

     Another common misinterpretation from some students, including Ray, was that Kaneland is one of the only schools to make this decision.

     “I’m pretty sure most schools are staying as just two instead of one,” Ray said.

     However, Maras contrasted the idea by stating how common the change is throughout schools besides Kaneland. 

     “I don’t think we’re the only ones. I think that if you were to look in the Chicagoland area, you’d find some that have done this for a while,” Maras said. “I know when we have meetings with Kane County principals and DuPage principals, it comes up.”

     While the new changes coming to the Homecoming Court may be controversial for some in the student body, that won’t change administration’s decision to strive towards inclusivity and comfort for their students, and maybe we’ll even see this trend develop in other schools.