Homecoming ballot goes gender neutral


Elizabeth Marrin, Staff Writer

With societal standards regarding gender identity being called into question, the impending homecoming season will exhibit several alterations, including a disposal of the former titles of “prince” and “princess.” Initiated by language arts teacher Jessica Hartman as well as several class officers and Student Government, traditional homecoming titles are being discarded in favor of a more gender neutral approach.

“I know there was some opposition to using gender-specific terminology in regards to the Homecoming court,” Hartman said. “We really hope that the way we’ve done the ballots is more satisfying to everyone.”

The proposed solution was to replace the old titles with less gender specific names. This new approach, however, will not apply to the senior nominees.

“For ninth through eleventh grades, the two winners will be titled ‘Homecoming Court,'” Hartman said. “The officers and I decided that for twelfth grade, we will be sticking to king and queen because it’s such a long-standing tradition.”

New terminology isn’t the only modification; the process of selecting possible candidates will change as well, as the ballots will be sporting two blanks without gender designations or titles.

“We are leaving it up to the students to decide who they want to earn those titles,” said senior Joanna LaTorre, president of the Student Government Association. “It was requested by a few students, and we saw no harm in eliminating some of the gender specifications of the ballots.”

Hosted by Student Government, the Homecoming Dance will be held at the Melbourne Auditorium on Sept. 24 from 7 to 11 p.m. The theme will be “Interstellar.” Ticket sales will occur during Power Hour through Sept. 23.

“The planning of Homecoming has been a very exciting experience, and I am almost certain that this year will have one of the nicest themes portrayed,” LaTorre said. “SGA has combined many students’ ideas to craft the perfect design for the special night. I think the theme is incredibly elegant, sophisticated and exciting. It definitely screams West Shore since our school is filled with students reaching for the stars.”