Gretchen Hammond and Rick Schmitz.

Yep, almost 40 years later, I remember who we voted homecoming queen and king for the Lakeville High School class of 1983.

Were they the “popular” kids? Perhaps. But honestly, they were nice kids. They weren’t loud or showy, or the leaders of a clique of friends. They were just quietly nice to everyone.

I don’t remember if our homecoming court had five or 10 boy and girl candidates. I remember a few of the other girl candidates. I don’t remember any of the other boy candidates. I’d have to find my yearbook to refresh my memory.

Crowning homecoming kings and queens obviously has been a longtime tradition at high schools - going back to the 1980s and earlier in my memory. This year, Brainerd High School changed it up.

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There was disagreement and compromise, with the final decision not to crown a king or queen. Instead, seniors will vote for 10 classmates of any gender to be on the homecoming court, and three will be crowned as ambassadors.

The idea is to have a more inclusive celebration for seniors without anyone feeling excluded, the Brainerd Dispatch reported.

Times change.

I do support Brainerd’s decision to keep a homecoming court. Most importantly, it’s what students wanted, and it’s tradition. Perhaps the new format will carry forward for years to come, and perhaps other area school districts will eventually revise their traditions as well.

I applaud Brainerd school leaders for listening to the student council. The school also will present two students per grade with Above and Beyond Warrior awards to recognize their contributions to the school and community. That’s a nice addition.

But my thought is that years from now, seniors will remember their homecoming ambassadors but not the Above and Beyond Warrior award winners.

Pequot Lakes High School hosted its homecoming coronation Monday, Oct. 4, with Sam Rysavy and Sonja Palmer being crowned king and queen. I have no idea if they are the “popular” students, or if like Gretchen and Rick in Lakeville, they’re just plain nice to everyone.

Pine River-Backus High School’s king and queen will be crowned Friday, Oct. 8. I don’t know the students who make up either school’s homecoming court, but I’m glad the school’s are keeping this tradition.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at