Student Government announces new plan to honor seniors in place of traditional homecoming court

In an effort to be more inclusive and representative of the entire senior class, BVNW Student Government created an alternative way to honor as many seniors as possible.


Graphic by Courtney Krebs

In an effort to be more inclusive and representative of the entire senior class, BVNW Student Government created an alternative way to honor as many seniors as possible.

Emily Moser, Writer

Because of the COVID-19 restrictions in place this school year, BVNW did not have a homecoming dance or court as they traditionally do each fall. In the past, the senior class nominates their peers to be selected for homecoming court and during homecoming week, the entire student body has the opportunity to vote for homecoming king and queen. 

In the Principal’s Newsletter sent out on Oct. 23, the Student Government Executive Board announced an alternative way to recognize seniors in place of a homecoming court. This new program is called Distinguished Seniors. 

Student Government sponsor Sarah Derks said, Distinguished Seniors is a way to recognize as many seniors as possible and highlight their achievements in their respective sport or activity. Homecoming court only had two winners, one female and one male, but Distinguished Seniors will represent eight to twelve seniors during each season of the year, Derks said.

Derks said Distinguished Seniors will happen three times a year, during the Fall, Winter and Spring. The schedule for recognition is as follows. Fall sports, student government, debate team and band recognized in the Fall. Winter sports, The Express, The Horizon and Husky Headlines staffs will be recognized in the Winter. Spring sports, orchestra, choir and business organizations will be recognized in the Spring. 

Derks said each of the organizations listed above will have the opportunity to nominate one senior to be distinguished for that season. There will be no winner, as there was with homecoming court, but rather all of the nominees will be recognized on a plaque, Derks said.  

The transition away from the typical homecoming court that is widely practiced in high schools across the country took a lot of consideration, Student Body President Amita Ganesh said. 

Ganesh said, “With everything going on, we felt that because we weren’t able to have a traditional homecoming dance or a football game, we had the capability to try something new.” 

Ganesh said she, alongside the Executive Board and its advisors, decided that homecoming court is an outdated way to honor seniors and has simply become a popularity contest in recent years. 

“I feel like BVNW has done a great job nominating students based on merit and not on popularity,” Derks said. “Then, when it comes to voting, sometimes it’s based on popularity. We wanted to get rid of the popularity piece of it.”

Because there are students being chosen from a wide variety of sports and activities each season, there will be a greater representation of the senior class as a whole, including students who would not typically be voted onto homecoming court, Derks said. 

Ganesh said that when looking at the list of seniors who were nominated this year, she thought that some of them probably would not have been nominated if BVNW was still using the traditional homecoming court system. She said she is glad that they are getting to honor a wider range of the senior class.

Derks said, “We’re not just honoring six students, we’re honoring almost 30 students. They represented our sports and our organizations well, and they have something to take home and it’s not just some plastic crown.”

Ganesh said that with this new program in place, students will be recognized for the good work they are doing in their sport or activity, rather than just because of their name. 

Derks said another reason the Executive Board decided to replace the homecoming court system is because of the gender norms it forces on the student body. 

“I also wanted to get away from gender specifications,” Derks said. “I understand that there’s boys cross country and girls cross country, but when you put “King” and “Queen” in there, it really pushes toward gender norms.”

While Derks, Ganesh and the Executive Board are excited about the new Distinguished Seniors program and the recognition it will bring, other seniors are less enthusiastic about the transition away from the tradition of homecoming court.  

Senior Lucy Vincent said she was disappointed when she heard BVNW would not have a homecoming court this year. 

“I was very disappointed especially because I saw that other schools had continued to do their homecoming courts,” Vincent said. “In the past, I feel like we made a big deal about it with the assembly and football games, so I was just really disappointed that we didn’t get to have that.”

Senior class president, Riley Beach, shared Vincent’s disappointment in the decision to move away from the traditional homecoming court BVNW has always used. 

“In a time when we have already lost so many of our normal things, changing something that didn’t necessarily have to be changed was a little frustrating for people,” Beach said. “I have had seniors express their frustrations about it to me.”

Beach and Vincent both attributed their disappointment in not getting to have their senior homecoming court to the importance that society places on traditional events like this. 

“I think homecoming court is important to seniors because ever since we were little, even in the movies, it was something we saw and got to look forward to when we got to high school,” Beach said.

Vincent said that Distinguished Senior is a nice program for BVNW, but she does not think it needs to replace homecoming court, because it was such a fun event that so many seniors looked forward to. 

“I think it’s great to acknowledge seniors in this way, especially those who might not have been recognized otherwise, but I dont think it’s a replacement for the fun of homecoming court,” Vincent said. 

On the other side, Senior Brynn Stasiulis said she is in full support of this new program because of the diversity of the student body it will represent. She said that the traditional homecoming court is a tired system that needed to be stepped away from because of its tendency to turn into a popularity contest. 

“I am not someone who would typically be nominated for something of that sort because I am very academically driven,” Stasiulis said. “I am involved in clubs that are more academic-based and more service-based and so I feel like I have a better shot at being nominated because they are expanding [the program] in such a way that involves more aspects of the community.”

Although they do not all agree on the implementation of the Distinguished Seniors program, Beach, Vincent and Stasiulis all believe that Student Government and the BVNW administrators will receive backlash for this change in tradition. 

“I think there will probably be a lot of backlash,” Vincent said. “I’m fine with it, even though I wish we could’ve had a normal homecoming court, it’s not the end of the world for me. I know for some people, it’s been something they’ve been looking forward to for four years so I think they will definitely be mad about the ‘everyone wins’ outlook.”

Stasiulis said that she believes parents will be on the defense when it comes to this new program being put into action. 

“This is something that I’m sure at least the parents were looking forward to for their children and they feel like they were kind of robbed of something,” Stasiulis said. “In reality, they haven’t been robbed of anything. They’re just giving everyone an equal playing field now.”

Going into the future, Ganesh said Student Government is hopeful that this program will have a lasting impact on the BVNW senior classes. 

“My hope is that this causes people to think about who they are at practice, and who they are in the classroom,” said Derks. “In this day and age, achievement is something that we think is success, but sometimes being a good person and being respectful and a good example means more than trophies.”

Ganesh said that although the program now looks a little different, in coming years, BVNW can still honor the nominated in the same, fun ways they did in the reign of homecoming court. 

“We built [Distinguished Seniors] in a way that it could be a good, longstanding change,” Ganesh said. “We could still honor [the nominees] at assemblies and have them dance and show off the great things they are doing. We could still recognize them at the football games.”

Stasiulis said that this change is a step in the right direction for BVNW. 

“I’m just really glad that our school is doing this and taking the first step to do it, because the rest of the schools are still doing a typical homecoming court.” Stasiulis said. “I’m really proud of them for taking the first toward a more inclusive recognition of seniors.”