Has High School Royalty Lost It’s True Meaning?

Most times, the title of prom queen and king comes with a tiara and crown, which is a main reason why students want the title.


Most times, the title of prom queen and king comes with a tiara and crown, which is a main reason why students want the title.

Katelyn Ruggles, Photojournalist

Throughout high schools in the United States, it is tradition to have “royalty”, most commonly in the form of homecoming, winter formal, or prom king and queen. The student body votes for the two students, normally a boy and a girl, that are most deserving of the title. However, over the years, I feel like the meaning behind the tradition has died out, and I find myself questioning the true purpose behind having high school royalty, and how it benefits schools.


Originally, king and queen selection was based on who is the best representative for their student body by bringing the most spirit to their schools. There used to be qualifications as to who was deserving of the title. You are charismatic, kind, and embody what it means to be a role model of a student. However, students have seemed to change what it means to be king or queen. It has turned into more of a competition than an honor, with students campaigning in different ways for the title. Instead of showing your worth for the honor of king or queen, students are creating posters, passing out small gifts like pins or stickers, and even posting on social media. This can be explained by the portrayal of school royalty in shows and movies. However, it turns a fun way to honor students into an unnecessary competition. 


The tradition has changed so much that some students have even gone as far as to use the opportunity to make a joke out of the title. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for students to vote for others as a joke. Though queen and king can be a way for students to feel good about themselves, it can also be a way for students to feel insecure about themselves for not being enough to win the title, or lower their self esteem for being voted for as a joke. Camille Khong (10) believes that “it is a great honor for students that achieve great things, but with that being said high school royalty has become a cliche popularity contest or even an outlet for jokes”. 


Today, high school royalty seems like it is no more than a popularity contest. The tradition has been bent and broken through movies and T.V. portrayal and is not as beneficial to schools as it used to be. Now, instead of honoring students who have school pride, high school royalty has turned into an unnecessary competition for students to show who are the most popular at the school. Dances should allow students to have a memorable night with dancing and excitement, and the competition of king or queen should not take that memory away from the students.