ShareThis Page

Quaker Valley adds king crowning to homecoming tradition

| Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, 10:48 a.m.

A king and a queen will be crowned at Quaker Valley High School's homecoming festivities this year for the first time in school history, as students pushed for changes to tradition to allow for more inclusion.

In the past, Quaker Valley crowned only a homecoming queen and girls, at times, felt pressure to find a date to walk them across the football field for the big day, said senior Rachel Rock, 17. Girls — from freshman through seniors — were part of the tradition at the small school with an enrollment of 650, students said.

Students wanted to change that.

“We said, ‘What can we do to change the way this is and make everyone feel more included?' ” Rock said.

Students approached Principal Deborah Riccobelli, who worked with athletic director Mike Mastroianni, to form a committee of students who sought to address the issue.

“They didn't feel like our previous process honored who the students were,” Riccobelli said. “They wanted to honor the tradition of homecoming, yet something that was more inclusive… that a wider variety of students were represented in — not just the popular kids.”

They created a process where teachers would nominate high school senior boys and girls for the school's homecoming court. They can select students based on character, respect shown to others and activities they're involved in — ranging from the drama club to sports.

“It's going to give some kids that might not have had the chance before the opportunity,” said senior Jake Giotto, 18. “We wanted to get rid of the stereotypical traditional ideas of what homecoming was.”

The seven boys and seven girls who are nominated will walk together across the field and be paired in alphabetical order. The winner will be announced at halftime of the football game on Oct. 6.

The changes at homecoming follow adjustments made to Quaker Valley's prom two years ago, when a male-centric Mr. QV pageant was changed to a prom royalty court that included both boys and girls.

“Having the girls be voted on, but boys be judged based on talent was very archaic,” Rock said.

Giotto said he hopes other high school's take notice of what Quaker Valley is doing in modernizing its traditions and becoming inclusive to all students.

“I feel it's paving the path for all other high schools,” he said.

For Riccobelli, it's important that students are the ones making the decision and have a voice in their school.

“It's empowering students,” she said. “The more the students step up and have a say, I think their experience in high school becomes more meaningful.”

Riccobelli pointed to other student-led initiatives across the school that have been successful in the past few years, including the re-launch of a drama club and the start of a cultural alliance, where students have a place to talk about anything going on in the world.

“I'm proud of them,” she said.

Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.