Recently, I attended my first Ashland High School football game in maybe 20 years. It was homecoming. At halftime, the various class representative paraded onto the field for the traditional "crowning" ceremony for what I thought would be the homecoming king and queen. Instead, three crowns were distributed. Because I couldn't understand what the PA announcer was saying, I had no idea why there were three crowns instead of two. Someone mentioned that it's because of gender-neutrality? Can you clear this up for me?

— Robert J., Ashland

Ashland High School's decision to depart from the more traditional king and queen roles started in 2014. At the time, student leaders decided to shift the emphasis of the homecoming court from a popularity contest to accomplishments or leadership qualities.

Then-student body Co-President Brielle Prekenis said the goal was to "change the discussion from being about gender to also being about making a positive impact on Ashland High School."

Since then, Ashland High School has been crowning three seniors, regardless of their genders, who are chosen by student and faculty votes supposedly on the basis of leadership, and called Grizzly Royalty.

Reports from that time said the school hadn't faced much backlash for the decision outside of some comments on social media. Megan Marquez, the leadership director at AHS working with the student council for the past year, says to her knowledge the same is true today.

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