Modernizing Traditions

Oshkosh North rids Homecoming ‘king’ and ‘queen’ titles


With the new changes to the Homecoming court titles, Boston Gies and Hailey Fox were the last Homecoming king and queen. Now anybody, regardless of their gender, can go on the court as a Representative.

Areena Sorani, Writer

Call it the end of an era. Call it the end of feudalism. For the first time ever, Oshkosh North high school will not have a Homecoming King or Queen. Instead, each grade will have class representatives, and the two top senior vote getters will be the MVPs of the school. 

The change comes during a time when schools have paid more attention to equity of students and a more inclusive understanding of student identity.

“Basically, North is always looking for ways to be inclusive,” says Jacquelyn Kiffmeyer, the Principal of Oshkosh North. “We’re trying to make sure our entire student body always feels a part of the activities we are doing.”

In the past, students have expressed concerns about the Homecoming ballot process. 

“A variety of student groups brought it forward through conversations with their classmates. Advisors were responsive and willing to listen,” Kiffmeyer says.

The concerns varied from consenting to being on the ballot to the validity of the voting all together. 

Counselor Andrea Holdorf says, “The concerns brought forward by students included that everyone was being forced to run for court when not everyone wanted to participate, and sometimes people were voting for others as a joke.” 

 Several students have also been misgendered and referred to as their deadnames in the polls, according to Holdorf. Transgender women were put in polls as men, and vise versa. Nonbinary people were put under specified genders which caused some to be upset and uncomfortable.

Some students are confused on how this change of voting will work out now. 

The voting process for Homecoming queen and king was very different in past years. Everyone was on the ballot regardless of their consent, and the top couple would win, hence the king and queen titles. However, the process was found to be very non-inclusive, making the Homecoming royalty only available to hetero and cis-gender couples. 

Instead of relying on a list of students generated by Infinite Campus, students must now opt to be on the ballot, and two representatives of each grade with the highest votes regardless of gender will be crowned the ‘Class Representatives’ of Homecoming.

“The option to be listed or removed from the ballot was changed, as well as how classes would be referred as. You can also choose what name appears on the ballot. So we’re still honoring the tradition – we’re just making it more inclusive,” Kiffmeyer says.

Thus, Homecoming of 2022 at Oshkosh North, as well as every following Homecoming and Prom, will be gender neutral. The titles of king and queen won’t be going to a couple in each grade.

The change has resulted in expected mixed feelings.

Holdorf expressed relief that students will be accurately represented in the tradition.

“I am all for it. We still have the traditional dance and spirit week, but now it’s a lot more inclusive,” Holdorf says. 

Junior Maddi Selner agrees.

I love it! Much more inclusive to people now.” 

But the change caused a bit of a stir among the students. 

Freshman Ava Duran says, “I don’t like the change. The King and Queen votes are a tradition that I’ve been looking forward to, and for it to be changed for a certain group isn’t fair to the rest of us.” 

On the other hand, several people questioned why they could only vote for one representative instead of two like in the previous year when they could pick a boy and girl. 

English teacher and student council co-adviser Michelle Carbiener explained it was to prevent the pairing of a couple anyway, which would give them an advantage.

“You only need one vote. The top two are the representatives. We will revisit the process after the first year and listen to feedback,” Carbiener says.

Principal Kiffmeyer also said many who at first seemed confused understood once they got a complete explanation of the change. 

“Some people have questioned it, more just to make sure they understand, but once it’s explained to them why we made that change and that the voice came from our own student body, their attitudes are more positive,” says Kiffmeyer.

Oshkosh North isn’t the first school to do this. While this change seems quite recent, schools have been dropping king and queen titles since the early 2000s. 

Several districts have made changes, such as homecoming “royalty” regardless of gender, over the past several years to be more equitable” Holdorf says. 

Wisconsin’s first school to switch to gender neutral terms was Madison West in 2015, and many schools since have changed the ballot to a more inclusive way of celebrating this annual tradition.