Homecoming should be fun for all

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 10, 2002

"Look how many Kellys are in it," said a classmate my senior year. "It makes me want to puke."

This was her reaction after the Homecoming Court at my high school was announced in the fall of 1997. Her comment doesn't really make much sense for me today, but it did then.

Those Kellys were just three of the 24 king and queen candidates who had always been in the spotlight throughout our school years.

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That three candidates had the same name made it all the more sickening to us.

At the same time I remember thinking, well, what does she expect? It's Homecoming. It's a popularity contest.

Austin High School kicked off their Homecoming celebration last week with a Pep Fest announcing the Homecoming candidates.

I don't know any of the candidates personally. I have no idea if the Homecoming court here is elected by a certain set of qualities.

But I'm sure, as the candidates are at many schools, they are very involved in their school and community.

And ideally, I would hope they are nice people. I think most of the candidates in my high school who made it to the final court were pretty cool people -- even if they were part of the elite clique.

Just as the Homecoming Court involves people who are really active in the school, so do the events of that week. Members of groups make floats and the student council arranges many activities, involving their friends.

Those who are not as involved or do not have connected friends may feel left out this week.

One of the most telling signs of who was popular and who wasn't during Homecoming week at my high school was when the student council handed out "spirit" flowers that Friday.

Spirit flowers were dyed carnations that the student council sold to raise money. Students could purchase three for $1 to give to their friends, significant others, teachers, etc. Every student got a flower even if no one bought them one.

Imagine being the student with that one flower.

And then seeing the girl with 25 carnations in her arms from her many friends or generous boyfriend.

I usually got three or four spirit flowers each year from close friends. I admit, at the time, I was jealous of those who needed help carrying their flowers to class.

By the time I was a senior I didn't take it so personally. Those people had a lot of friends, so be it.

In high school, many students are concerned about fitting in. Homecoming week tends to heighten everyone's awareness that some people fit in better than others.

That's a depressing lesson in what is supposed to be a fun week.

So for those that may not feel involved enough in Homecoming Week, enjoy it anyway.

Because dwelling on a little thing like popularity will only sour your experience.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at :mailto:cari.quam@austindailyherald.com