It sounds like a page out of 1964. But this article from CNN.com details how students at Turner County (Georgia) High School attended the first ever integrated prom this past weekend. The school, located south of Atlanta, has always held two separate proms, one for black students and one for white students. No more. The senior class voted to have just one prom this year, a move that was wholeheartedly supported by the school’s principal, Chad Stone.
“It’s been a dream of all of ours,” Senior Class President James Hall said.
“We didn’t want to put emphasis on integrated blacks and whites coming together. We just wanted to put emphasis on this was our first school prom,” Principal Chad Stone said.
The theme of the first official prom: Breakaway.
“It was fitting already because we are breaking away from the past traditions here in Turner County School,” Hall said.
Another tradition that ended this year — having two separate homecoming queens.
“You pick the homecoming queen for their personalities and being a role model,” explained Roshunda Pierce, 16, as she waited to get her nails done for prom.
In the past, two queens were chosen — one white, one black.
Interestingly, the “white prom” was still held.
Nichole Royal, 18, said black students could have gone to the prom, but didn’t.
“I guess they feel like they’re not welcome,” she said.
Nichols said while her parents were in support of the integrated prom, some of her friends weren’t allowed to go.
“If they’re not coming tonight it’s because either they had to work and they couldn’t get out of it or because their parents are still having an issue because they grew up in south Georgia,” she said.
There were mixed feelings about the integrated prom, including some in the community who called it “fake” because it didn’t necessarily mean that the white and black students were all on board, especially in light of the white prom continuing to take place. But Superintendent Ray Jordan summed it up best, “If I could write this story it would be a story of celebration of students making a difference for themselves and for future students. I believe they wanted to leave their mark, and I certainly believe they’ve done that.”