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What to do, what not to do: Tips for homecoming court campaigns

This story was originally published on September 22, 2010.

Few things are as drama filled as high school and politics. Put the two together and you have homecoming elections. Two tb-two* staffers who are veterans of the homecoming court campaign trail offer some tips from different perspectives: Matt Hooper ran successfully for homecoming court at Armwood last year and is trying again this year. Emmy Boyd ran last year at Wharton and lost, and lived to tell (and joke) about it.

Matt: Don't wait till the last minute. In school you often can get away with procrastinating; it's not that hard to do a couple of math problems the period before they're due. However, procrastination can be a fatal flaw for a homecoming court candidate. Don't wait till election day to put up fliers and hand out buttons. Two weeks ahead of voting day is a smart time to start.

Emmy: OR, don't waste a lot of money. Keep in mind as you hand out candy, pencils, buttons and stress balls with "VOTE FOR (insert name here)!!!" on them that people are just going to eat, chew or squeeze them and then vote for their friends anyway. (Cue the sarcasm.) Bribery is worth a try, though.

Matt: Keep your enemies close. It's vital to know what your competition is doing. Don't be afraid to steal your opponents' ideas or, even better, one-up them. If your rival is having all her friends pass out cookies, have your friends pass out brownies. Everyone knows brownies beat cookies.

Emmy: OR, start a war with someone who is running. (Why wait to cue the sarcasm?) She should know that if she's running against you, the claws are going to come out. If you both win places on the court, though, she might just sabotage your time in the spotlight at the dance (with, oh, I don't know, pig's blood perhaps?).

Matt: Play to your strengths. If you can't make a brownie to save your life, look for other ways to woo voters. If you're in a TV class, make a campaign ad for your morning show. If you are a crafty type, decorate T-shirts with your name. Do what you're good at.

Emmy: OR, think really BIG. (Cue really big sarcasm.) You want your campaign to be visible and you can't afford billboards, so tag people's cars with your name. People are often lazy when it comes to washing off their cars. If you lose, though, prepare to stare at the reminder of defeat every day when you get to the parking lot.

Matt: The Internet is your friend. This isn't your daddy's high school election, so use the tools he never had in his toolbox. Make the election an event on Facebook and invite all your friends. Create a "Vote for Me" page and suggest that all your friends "like" it.

Emmy: OR ... Hmm. I agree on this one. (No sarcasm.)

Matt: Don't let the stress get to you. Yes, it's a competition, but homecoming elections are nothing you should lose sleep over. I know it sounds like a little league coach's cliche, but have fun with it. Losing can be a bummer, but it shouldn't make or break your homecoming experience, or your life. Remember, there is always the prom election to give it another shot.

Emmy: OR, expect to win. What's wrong with a little optimism? Even before you hear your name called at the pep assembly, buy a swanky court dress and explain to Grandma why you won't be able to wear that "pretty little number with the lace collar" she bought you as a surprise. Decide how you'll do your hair. You're a shoo-in. But, if for some inexplicable reason your name is not announced at that rally, remember, you will survive the loss. Really. I'm not being sarcastic.