Homecoming Royalty Replaced With Difference Makers

Elsie Goren, Co-Editor-in-Chief

This year, Eagan High School will abandon a 27-year tradition: homecoming royalty. Instead of having a popularly-elected homecoming court, the administration will recognize a panel of difference makers, seniors who are involved in various school or community activities. Dr. Zak explains, “We’re following the path that many schools in the country are following in terms of getting rid of the traditional popularity-based royalty.”

We’re following the path that many schools in the country are following in terms of getting rid of the traditional popularity-based royalty.”

— Dr. Zak

In District 196, Apple Valley High School and Eastview High School have eliminated the homecoming royalty system as well. Next year, Rosemount High School will follow suit and do without a homecoming court.

Although Apple Valley and Eastview aren’t establishing anything in place of a homecoming court, Eagan High School is starting a new tradition of commending senior “difference makers.”

In mid-September, students nominated senior difference makers. Those nominated can choose to fill out an application listing their co-curricular and volunteer activities. On Tuesday, October 3rd, the applications will be hung in the student commons, so students from all grades can get to know the candidates. On Tuesday, October 10th, seniors will vote for their top three difference makers, and the winners will be announced at the homecoming pepfest on Friday, October 13th.

Currently, the administration isn’t sure how many difference makers there will be. The homecoming court was generally ten seniors: five male students and five female students. “We’re going to look at the student vote, and we’re going to find a line that allows us to set people apart,” Dr. Zak confides.

In addition to the removal of homecoming royalty, the administration intends to host more class games during homecoming week. The homecoming pepfest will feature more competition between grades as well.

Maggie Stout
Student body president Tram Nguyen, along with other student government officials, met with Dr. Zak and Dr. Reikowski to discuss the changes to homecoming.

The primary reason for the change was the low student participation in the homecoming court selection. “The problem with traditional royalty was for a kid to get into the top ten, they needed about eight votes,” Dr. Zak reveals. He adds, “That’s how few kids actually participated in the process.”

For the new difference makers process to be implemented, Dr. Zak and Dr. Reikowski met with student government officials several times to discuss the changes and gauge the student body’s reaction. Student body president Tram Nguyen says that the original plan was to have a teacher committee select the difference makers.

“We didn’t like that there was no student involvement, and we wanted to change that,” she remarks. Dr. Zak and Dr. Reikowski agreed with Nguyen and extended the right to vote to the senior student body.

Nguyen believes the new system is “a happy medium” between the administration’s and seniors’ wishes. “I nominated twenty people,” she laughs. “But I told them ‘If I nominate you, you have to apply,’ and they all had to say yes for me to nominate them,” Nguyen clarifies.

Senior Allie Maas, who was nominated as a difference maker, gushes “It feels super validating, and I’m honored to be nominated […] as the message behind it is important and beneficial not only for the school but for the community.”

Likewise, senior Grace Randolph was excited to see she had been nominated. She eagerly explains, “My friend that nominated [me] made my day. I never really saw myself as someone that people notice, but it feels really great to know that I’ve made a difference in at least one person’s life.”

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However, not all students are happy about the change. Senior Olivia Gore believes the new system is still a popularity-based contest. She comments, “People are just going to vote for their friends, and true difference makers are not always people who have friends to nominate them.”

Dr. Zak concludes, “Change is always difficult, but we think students will embrace this because we really do have a great senior class with a number of difference makers.”