Money rules over popularity for homecoming king

Published 11:09 pm Saturday, October 22, 2022

By Jillian Haskin

In honor of last week’s homecoming, an ever faltering tradition- I speculate about its definitive qualities at PRCHS.

Queen, king, and money – the main components of what individualizes the American homecoming week. But only one of those words scratches beyond the surface of what one would think.

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Homecoming queen: one who “almost” everyone likes, or generally loves in most instances. A cut-throat scene of a girl’s defining moment in high school, though limited to only a handful of girls who make the homecoming court “cut.” Dresses start at a “steal” of $400 dollars, but it all comes down to whether your lipstick smudges before you walk in front of the public holding dad’s hand. For those who are fortunate enough to play this game, it’s more than a homecoming queen ballot. It’s a story beyond that of Monday morning buzz; it’s holistic. It’s New York City’s “non-relevant” story, yet it’s Pearl River County’s coffee shop gossip and much more, because of cellphones. It’s a grandkid’s story for 10 years. It’s a title that, almost entirely, gives a high school career its individuality. It’s legacy, all in a teenage girl’s supremacy.

Teenage-girl supremacy in relation to homecoming is only something you can experience through being there. The nerve-racking aspect of it isn’t surprising, it’s applicable to almost any homecoming process. From being placed on the ballot all the way to when the bright lights are on you, I’d say Stephen King captured that pretty accurately via “Carrie.”

When one mentions homecoming, commonly the homecoming queen comes to mind. Many overlook “his highness.” One would think that the process of who gets to sit beside the queen would be fairly easy, with the use of a ballot.

But at PRCHS, tradition is often quite non-traditional.

The guy who reigns in the spotlight isn’t chosen in the way most would think. The “choice” comes down to a monetary aspect, whichever candidate collects the most money is automatically king, without debate. This process of choosing homecoming king doubles as a PRCHS cheer fundraiser.

Thoroughly scanned for disciplinary referrals, academic setbacks, and other negative components of one’s high school record, senior boys are chosen as potential candidates for homecoming king, slingshotting the most competitive boys’ fundraiser hosted almost all year.

Sure, lots of money goes to a homecoming dress, but it also slips into collection baskets, or “jugs” decorated by the PRCHS cheer team, who take the homecoming king experience and properly itemize it to a monetary ordeal, aka “fundraiser.” Each cheerleader is assigned a jug and a candidate, whose name is scrawled on the jug. For the week of homecoming, filling the jug gets a full scope of a cheerleader’s day from first bell to dismissal.

In the case of winning PRC king, the money speaks for itself. If one boy’s designated jug holds a $100 dollar bill in comparison to that of a few dollars donated by students to another candidate, the winner is apparent from the moment the large bill lines the bottom.

Many, myself included, question whether the fundraiser should be rotated between teams or whether funds raised should be designated to a specific activity. For instance, our weight rooms could use renovation. But many insist on it being a simple fact of “cheer’s given fundraiser.” Sure teams could come up with other fundraisers, but this one generates money every year – why not rotate the funds?

What makes PRCHS homecoming week so un-ordinary comes down to the comparison of the glitz and competitiveness that encapsulates homecoming queen versus the simplicity of monetary supremacy to choose homecoming king.