Sunday, July 1, 2007

Hughes High: The Homecoming Queen Has A Plasma Rifle

One of the driving forces behind Hughes High was providing teenagers with superpowers as close to a normal high school experience as possible. While not every power was useful, the fact that every student had powers let life inside the walls settle into something that we could recognize. For example, there were cliques. There was a drama club. Copies of the school paper, "the Watchdog", are now highly sought by cape collectors. In fact, the only thing that Hughes High couldn't really give students were athletics.

The school had a mascot (three, actually), but no football, baseball, or swim teams. This often caused problems with athletic students that transferred in after developing powers. Students and parents often campaigned for programs, but the issues were always the same. Other schools didn't want their students competing with superhumans. Who wants to swim in a swim meet where half the competition is from Atlantis and the other is from the waterworld Sedaron 7? But if the school had all the typical trappings of a regular high school, what did the jocks do when they weren't trying to chat up the girls from Royalty or stuffing the Brains into their lockers?

Most students with a competitive edge tried out for one of the many superteams that the school fielded. The most famous is Varsity, who staged something of a reunion during The Event. But don't forget the others: The Freshmen, Detention, The Science Club, The Dropouts, and so on. That's not counting the 'unofficial' teams or the ones started by Hughes High alumni. (At least 3 members of The Bad Seeds have matching class rings.) Many teams would recruit out of the Hughes High teams when they went looking for new members. Many members of Varsity have gone on to both prestigious teams and solo success. But even this solution had a few problems. Part of the allure of sports was the socialization. Football games were as much about the players playing as they were for the other students to have someplace to go on a Friday night. And while many of Hughes High's proms were legendary, they never held a homecoming dance on-site.

Hughes High homecomings were always held in cooperation with local schools. The schools opted to be put into the drawing for the events. The school that hosted the homecoming got a big boost to their budget for that year. Smart administrators often stretched out the windfall for a few years before submitting to the lottery. Every school in the state submitted at least once. Of course, the dangers involved kept conservative administrators away. Malice used the opportunity in 1972 to replace every living being in the Bankridge Academy gymnasium with a Dopple-Destroyer robot. In the 25 years that the school was able to hold dances, 5 of them caused some sort of damage to the host school. And that's not counting the disastrous debut of Ringmaster and his Robozos in 1991.

Students were eligible for court but few were ever elected to court. The glaring exception is Savior-Flare, who was homecoming queen three of her four years at Hughes High. She chose not to run senior year. It was a good chance for both sides to see how the other half lived, or even to give someone that grew in to their powers a chance to feel like a regular kid again for a night.

Of course, my real alma mater was the one school out of the district that was in the running every year and was never chosen. I cite this as my number one reason for never making out with a super hero.