Villareal asks if the way St. Mark’s handles Homecoming is outdated
Saturdays in October present some Hockaday girls with nights of dresses, pictures and dancing, while others do homework, take the SAT and watch “Saturday Night Live.” Why? The reason: Homecoming.
Getting an invitation to this traditional dance freshman year is like winning the Hunger Games, and the battle for one is no less competitive. Not changing my prof pic or posting a plethora of photos on Facebook the day after St. Mark’s Homecoming is like a virtual walk of shame. So why is this dance so dramatic? To understand, it’s best to compare the different ways St. Mark’s, Jesuit and Cistercian handle the event.
First, St. Mark’s, is our official “brother school.” Without a date, students can’t go, whether they’re a Daisy or even a Lion. Each year, Homecoming Queen nominees are five Hockaday senior girls selected by the St. Mark’s Student Council and voted on by St. Mark’s Upper School. Hockaday girls have absolutely no say in the Homecoming Queen. That’s just how it works.
Second, Cistercian. Because the all-boys school has no official “sister school,” the cheerleading team is open to both Hockaday and Ursuline girls. For Homecoming, all senior cheerleaders are Queen nominees, and the whole squad is invited to the dance, either with or without a Cistercian date. But like St. Mark’s, only the Cistercian Upper School votes on the Queen.
Lastly, Jesuit. Ursuline’s official brother school, Jesuit allows all the Ursuline girls to go to the dance without a Jesuit date. The girls can even take their own dates from schools other than Jesuit. In contrast to St. Mark’s or Cistercian, the dance doesn’t have a Homecoming King and Queen.
So who handles it best?
Personally, I like Jesuit’s approach to invites. We need to think about the benefits of inclusivity and how events like Homecoming break us apart rather than bring us together. A brother and sister school should celebrate their bond by opening events to one another, and I think St. Mark’s Homecoming and even Hockaday’s Winter Formal are such events.
This change would alleviate the stress of getting a date and inviting a date for both schools. To the benefit of St. Mark’s, it could bring the focus of Homecoming back to football, since many students care more about scoring a date than the Lions scoring a touchdown. And for us, it could allow us the ground to tackle the controversial subject of the Homecoming Queen vote. After all, if the Queen goes to Hockaday, we should have a say in the vote.
– Alexandra Villareal