The Disadvantage of being Royalty: Why Norrix Shouldn't Have a Winterfest Court


by Ali Meinert
by Ali Meinert

It’s halftime. The sound of constant chatter fills the gymnasium as basketball players file out of the Loy Norrix gym. Right on cue, there’s a touch of static from the microphone as a voice comes over. They’re about to announce the Winterfest court. A slightly hushed silence falls over the tons of students and adults in the stands. There’s still several conversations going on around you and not many people seem to notice. When the King and Queen are announced, sharp snaps of balloons breaking are heard and the Loy Norrix gym falls silent. The shock fades into laughter and erupts throughout the entire gym. The poor soul who was elected Queen stands in the middle of the floor, drenched in ice water. She’s lead from the room by a group of people. The principle calls out the kids who threw the water balloons. The players come back inside and the game continues, even though nobody is really watching.
Students tend to greatly enjoy the Winterfest dance that Norrix provides but what about the crowning moment? Winterfest is one of the two dances in which LNHS offers the idea of crowning a King and Queen, nominated and elected by the student body. Presented with flowers and a crown, you can see how happy they are to have received such an honor, but what about the kids who lose? They get to stand in the background while everyone, at least those who are paying attention, cheer on the King and Queen.
Many schools throughout the United States seem to support having a King and Queen for Winterfest. Some schools even crown a Prince and Princess, students with the second highest votes. Being on the court certainly seems to have its perks. Men get to dress nicely while the women get to wear pretty dresses that they wind up freezing in due to the late winter weather.
The court seems more like a popularity contest than anything. When the ballots come out, there are little gasps of excitement or surprise, maybe even a few whispers about how they “can’t believe that he or she is doing this.” All you hear in the days before election is: “Vote for So and So” or “I’m voting for (insert name here)” or my personal favorite, “I don’t know any of the people running. Who are you voting for?” Nobody really stops to think twice about the options at hand. Instead, their eyes seem to stray directly towards the most familiar name, if there is one.
Plus, there are the girls or boys that don’t have enough confidence to run. There are students throughout LN who aren’t as popular, so being put on the spot in such a manner isn’t the easiest of tasks. The self confidences of girls seem to have gone down significantly over years. According to Do Something, over 70 percent of girls, ages 15 to 17, avoid daily activities when they feel bad about their looks. Nobody wants to build up the courage to sign up only to have it thrown in their faces if people mock them.
But is having a court really necessary? From personal experience, I’ve realized that when it comes to the crowning moment, not many people pay attention. I’ve been asked several times after the announcement who won, only to answer back that even I didn’t know.
After the crowning of Norrix’s 2013 Homecoming King and Queen, there was a bullying incident against our queen through social media. With the possibility of bullying, fewer students want to put themselves out there and run for court. In West Branch, Michigan, there was a student who was elected Homecoming Queen as a prank. She planned to drop out of school but was convinced by her sister to stay and take the crown instead. It’s situations like these that can hurt or even ruin someone’s life. No one seems to take the time to think over their actions. At Champlin Park High School, a senior girl was elected onto her winter dance court. The school objected to her running due to her sexual orientation.
High schools should just get rid of the courts entirely. No one pays enough attention to either know the candidates or to actually listen to who gets crowned, and there’s a bullying hazard. While there may be a lot of people who want to keep the courts going, there’s an equally high portion that want the courts to just disappear. It’s time to overthrow this belief that having a Winterfest court is necessary, dethrone the King and Queen and go back to just having fun.