King & Queen Replaced w/Gender Neutral “Royalty” at Ferndale Homecoming

King & Queen Replaced w/Gender Neutral “Royalty” at Ferndale Homecoming

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 23, 2021)

Ferndale, MI – Although there will still be competition, and crowns for the winners, there will be no King or Queen for this year’s Ferndale High School Homecoming.  That’s because students have decided to ditch the gender-based titles and dub the winners “royalty” instead.

Students have been voting for which of their peers will be selected for two Royalty positions.  The Ferndale High School United Student Assembly responded to an Oakland County Times inquiry with a statement saying:

“This year, instead of crowning a Homecoming King and Queen, we decided to have Homecoming Royalty in an effort to be more gender inclusive. The election process stayed essentially the same–candidates submitted applications and were voted on by their peers to become a part of Homecoming Court, then Court members were voted on to become Homecoming Royalty.

“The only differences this year were that (1) we changed the term for winners from king and queen to “royalty” and (2) we didn’t have any restrictions on gender as far as who could apply or who could win.

“This means that this year, two people of any gender could win Homecoming Royalty. Ferndale has a really strong LGBTQIA+ community, and as students it was important to us to represent that part of our student body and make trans and queer kids feel included in this tradition; we wanted anyone to feel like they could participate and didn’t want gender to be the thing keeping anybody from that.”

Among the ten candidates is Ember Woods who says running is “a way to step outside my comfort zone and represent Ferndale positively.”  She adds that “Ferndale has taught me the value of creativity, open-mindedness and community.  I will carry these with me the rest of my life.”

Also in the running is Zak Kelly who is on several sports teams including varsity baseball and ski club.  “Through these activities I have gotten to know a lot of new people and get along well with all of them.  I’ve really enjoyed my high school experience and wouldn’t want to be anything other than a Ferndale Eagle.”

Bella Suhy is also putting herself out there to run.  “I thought it’d be a fun experiences and might help me meet more underclassman.”

All those on the ballot are:

Giacomo (Jack) Rizzo

Xander Valascho

Zak Kelly

Kirsten Zvibleman

Emily Foster

Jasmine Money

Jada Pratt

Jackson Vander Meer

Ember Wood

Bella Suhy

Ferndale Schools includes students from Ferndale, Oak Park, Royal Oak Township, and Pleasant Ridge.

The decision made by the student body echoes the culture of inclusion in the Ferndale School District.  Recently Ferndale Schools adopted an equity based strategic plan that included a new district vision statement:

“At FPS, we are a school family of continual learners. We support each and every student to develop their purpose, plan, and passion. We encourage and honor dialogue about the histories, cultures, and goals of our communities. We actively and intentionally facilitate equitable access and representation, meaningful participation, and high expectations for ALL.”

Superintendent Dr. Dania Bazzi is excited about the effort.  “I am so proud of our student body for leading the way in providing an opportunity for equitable access and meaningful participation for all of their classmates.  This is what makes Ferndale Schools such an amazing place.”

The “Royals” will be announced at the school’s homecoming dance Friday.  Members of the public are invited to the Homecoming Parade and tailgate.  This year’s parade starts two-tenths of a mile west of Woodward, on Planavon Road. It is set to begin on Friday at 5:00 pm on 9 Mile and Planavon.

Staging for the parade starts at 4:30pm. The tailgate party begins in the FHS parking lot at 5pm. The football game begins at 7pm.

For more on Ferndale Schools visit


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