Homecoming Court Controversy: My Response

The+Homecoming+Court+stands+in+front+of+the+%22Welcome+to+Las+Vagas%22+sign+after+being+announced+on+Tuesday%2C+January+19th.+This+was+the+start+to+one+of+the+biggest+controversies+of+the+year%2C+as+the+students+that+were+selected+were+chosen+by+the+teachers+and+not+the+students.

Photo by Paige

The Homecoming Court stands in front of the “Welcome to Las Vagas” sign after being announced on Tuesday, January 19th. This was the start to one of the biggest controversies of the year, as the students that were selected were chosen by the teachers and not the students.

An Open Letter to the Senior Class:  

 

The Homecoming Court has been the talk of the school this week. There have been a lot of strong opinions flying around after we discovered that the Court was not picked by you, but rather the teachers. The rationale behind it is, apparently, many ballots contained the exact same votes, which suggested a collaboration between advisories. This was confirmed when a group chat was exposed for telling people who to vote for. Not only that, but teachers heard blatant whispers of voting for specific people with malicious intent. After consulting with Mr. Griebel and others, the decision was made to hold the vote among the teachers instead of the students to protect anyone from bullying.  

However, in doing this, the teachers have created new, unintended consequences.  

On Tuesday, ten students were selected by the teachers to be on the Homecoming Court. I was one of these students. I did not ask for this honor and was honestly surprised when my name was called. I know I’m not one of the “cool” kids or even popular, and I’m okay with that. In fact, it is where I prefer to reside within the social standings. I try to be quiet among my peers. I work hard, love what I get to do in the Fine Arts program, and look forward to graduating in a few months. In my entire life, I have never been recognized for something other than my musical, dramatic, or academic accomplishments. This was new for me, as I was nominated to the Homecoming Court because I am me, and that was enough.

Except that it wasn’t. Upon returning to my advisory, I did not hear congratulations –I didn’t expect it anyways, as I am not friends with most people in my advisory– but rather the angry clamors of supposed injustice. As I was quietly sitting at my desk in the back, feeling small, one thing became apparent to me: I didn’t deserve to be on the Court. And yes, that is probably true. But hearing that from you, my peers, was devastating. 

Your response to the announcement of the Court alienated me from the rest of you. Who did the fault reside with? The teachers? The students? There was wrongdoing on both sides, but to argue for a privilege that most students will not get this year is, in my opinion, shameful. 

But you need to understand that the verbal lashing you are surrounding the Homecoming Court with is misdirected. None of this is about me or the other students on the Court. It is time for you to have the courage to focus your voice on those you deem responsible without causing mental distress to your peers, as it was not our choice or fault. But simultaneously, directing your anger towards the teachers and administration has unintended emotional consequences for those caught in the crossfire. 

I feel like a pawn placed into a dangerous game of chess without my consent. I’m stuck in the middle of something unexpectedly terrible, and I am trying to not let your words hurt me.   

To my fellow Seniors, I know you are frustrated but pick your target carefully. Words, your words, have consequences. Because of your words, I dread going to school. Because of your words, I cannot wait for the week to end (and might I add my high school career). I may be the only one who is on the Homecoming Court who feels this way, but my voice matters. Both you and the teachers have mishandled this entire situation, and it is time for you to work this out and leave the Court alone. 

I have never cared about who was on the Homecoming Court and I still don’t care. But the reason for my mental unrest is not because I was nominated, but your response.

I may be an actor, but even I don’t want drama. I want to retreat into the wings, cut the lights, and draw the curtain. This show needs to be over.

 

Sincerely,

Sean Whitson