Meet the CRLS Homecoming Royalty

Pratyush+Ventakakrishnan+and+Shadnan+Asraf+won+senior+royalty.

Eman Abdurezak

Pratyush Ventakakrishnan and Shadnan Asraf won senior royalty.

Dania Rustom and Eman Abdurezak

For over a century, homecoming has been a staple of American high school and college culture. The celebration originated as a way to welcome back alumni, bringing old and new students together while enjoying a football game. The annual homecoming game is typically followed by a dance where students elect a “Homecoming King and Queen.”

This year, CRLS adopted and altered traditions to avoid conflict and increase inclusivity. Students were able to run for “Homecoming Royalty” instead of “King’’ and “Queen,” and Student Government decided to hold the crowning ceremony—normally occurring at the end of the last home game of the football season—outside the school during dismissal.

Jinho Lee ’22, Co-Student Body President, told the Register Forum about the change in plans: “We wanted it to reach as wide an audience as possible, to truly promote school spirit.” Lee continued, “In the wake of misogynistic conversations held by members of the football team last year, we felt it was insensitive to be promoting school spirit at an event celebrating those very players. School spirit should not exclude anybody, and especially shouldn’t put victims of sexism/sexual harassment in an uncomfortable position where they don’t feel safe participating in it.”

“[Winning royalty] makes me feel supported and valued, it just warms my heart.””

Upperclassmen casted votes for their top two candidates on October 21st via a Google form, and winners were announced Friday, October 22nd. This year’s senior class royalty were Pratyush Venkatakrishnan and Shadnan Asraf. Venkatakrishnan relayed to the Register Forum that his peer, Selma Ulm ’22, had taken the initiative to nominate him. “I’m pleasantly surprised,” he explained. “It’s great to see this outpouring of support from everyone … It makes me feel supported and valued, it just warms my heart.”

His co-royal Asraf expressed similar views on the news of his victory: “I felt good, you know? All my hard work kinda paid off … it was pretty nice.” The juniors had a close race, but in the end it was Nico Rimer and Farah Coplon-Newfield taking the crowns. They decided to run together, nominating themselves but endorsing one another.

Coplon-Newfield remarked that she “think[s] it’s funny we do it because we don’t have a homecoming dance so it’s a little random.” She would have preferred a dance “maybe this year just because I feel like CRLS has missed out on a lot of fun things to do be- cause of COVID-19 … As long as we have prom I feel like we don’t really need a homecoming dance.”

Coplon-Newfield and Rimerhad positive reactions to the symbolic changes in location and titles. Rimer expressed to the Register Forum that he’s glad he did it. “At first I was kind of embarrassed because it was just in front of a lot of people … but now I feel like it was just a fun thing to do!” Coplon-Newfield and Asraf campaigned using Instagram, making humorous promotion graphics.

Some, including the winners, see it as a meaningless popularity contest, approaching it as a low-pressure undertaking. Coplon-Newfield commented, “It’s kind of a popularity contest, just like a lot of things, but I don’t think people should read too much into it, it’s just a fun thing to do.”

This piece also appears in our November 2021 print edition.