Prom royalty- now inclusive and progressive


Photos courtesy of Ella McCormick and Ren Ludlow, respective

Every year, following a student’s return from spring break, the few weeks separating the present from summer always seem to be jam-packed with activities, gatherings, tests, and studying. A large component of the scramble during the last few weeks is of course, the prom. Students look for dresses, tuxes, which shoes they should wear, what group they should go with and dozens of small details to try to make the night perfect. They look forward to the spirit week, the venue, the after prom, and of course who will be voted prom royalty. 

The tradition of electing a King and Queen goes back for decades in American history as a popularity contest to choose who shall rule over the high school ball for an evening. It’s depicted in countless coming of age movies and a staple of senior year, for many, signifying the beginning of the end of high school. 

Yet, despite the pomp and circumstance of this tradition, choosing royalty is beginning to change at A-West. Earlier this year, the winds of change started to blow when two boys won senior homecoming royalty and two girls won junior homecoming royalty. This was possible because the process of voting fundamentally changed. Instead of voting for a couple that were put on the ballot together, the winners would have won the popular vote, as explained by the principal, Geree Santarelli, in an interview with Alex Larson last October for her story “No homecoming queen”.

An amalgamation of events that has led to seniors Ella McCormick and Ren Ludlow to run for royalty together. McCormick and Ludlow are both sexually queer and gender queer individuals running for senior royalty. 

McCormic started to run as a joke, tweeting about how funny it would be if they ran to which Ludlow responded that they would vote for them. This exchange started the hashtag “#ellaandrenforpromroyalty”. 

Ludlow mentions “it started as a joke then it just spiraled and now it’s real.”

The pair have homemade posters around the school promoting them as prom royalty and mainly want to win to continue the initial joke and end high school with a bang of laughter. 

McCormic mentions “realizing we could actually win, maybe would just be so fun and exciting!”  and they believed it’s “absolutely incredible” that two gender queer people will be running for royalty together. 

This is the first time in A-West history the prom ballot won’t be comprised of various cisgender-heterosexual couples thrown together out of sheer popularity, and will likely set a precedent of inclusion and progressiveness at A-West. 

McCormic mentions, “I know a lot of people that are younger than us that are a lot more scared of being themselves here. It would just be fun for them to know that it’s not impossible” 

The other “couple” currently running is Blade Wilburn and Willoughby “Willie” Rothrock. To which Ludlow says, “Good luck but we will crush you.”

If Ludlow and McCormick do beat out Wilburn and Rothrock, they plan on both taking the title “King” if they had to choose a binary title, but hope to find a funny title that fits their identity. 

Regardless of who wins, the change started during homecoming will continue this spring for prom.