Senior class makes history at Ohio high school, electing two girls prom king and queen

The roots of the senior prom date back to the 19th century, at a time when colleges were separated by gender. The prom—short for promenade—was an opportunity for young men and young ladies to meet and mingle at a formal party. The idea moved to younger ages in the 1920s and evolved into the modern-day prom, complete with tuxedos, limousines, over-the-top "promposals," and, of course, the infamous prom "court."

The fact that students are still being asked to vote among their peers for a "king" and a "queen" of the prom is somewhat baffling. The idea felt outdated when I was in high school decades ago. Am I missing something, or is it really just a glorified popularity contest where the naturally outgoing and beautiful among the student body get the privilege of winning a prize that has no real meaning or significance?

Traditions are odd things when you step back and look at them objectively. Many people aren't able to do that, which is why there's so often an uproar when traditions get broken or messed with in some way. But not all traditions are worth keeping—or at least worth being precious about.


That's the lesson for an Ohio community whose senior class voted in two girls as prom king and queen this year. The couple, Annie and Riley, were chosen by their peers at Kings High School to wear the crowns and carry the titles—a choice that was brought up and discussed at a local school board meeting.

At least one parent at the school board meeting expressed concern over having a girl serve as prom king, but others were supportive.

"I admire this generation for their thirst of knowledge and understanding, their strength to stand up for what they believe in," said one parent.

"Sorry, but I believe that there are still two genders, a male and a female," said another.

The decision, however, was the students' to make, not the parents'.

"This is solely a Kings High School senior class nominated and voted-on initiative," Dawn Goulding, a community relations coordinator for the school district, told WLKY News.

The school shared a photo of the girls on their Facebook page with no extra fanfare—just a simple message of congratulations. "Congratulations to Kings High School 2021 Prom King and Queen, Annie Wise and Riley Loudermilk! #KingsStrong." Though there was a mix of comments on the post at first, they grew more supportive.

"The queen and king that were nominated and won were thrilled, they were so excited and they feel so supported at school, Gould told Fox 19 News. "What is great is it shows a lot of the character of our students at Kings High School. They're inclusive and they get it."

The Facebook post now has more than 2,000 comments, most of which are words of celebration and support for the students.

Let's just step back a second. For parents to raise a fuss about a prom court in any way shape or form is just silly. "But a king is by definition a male! But the point is to have a boy and a girl!" It's a prom court, for the love. It means nothing in the big scheme of things, regardless of who wears those crowns.

The students of Kings High managed to at least give it some fleeting meaning, using an archaic prom tradition to make a statement of solidarity and an expression of inclusivity. And the school district has stood by the students as they've endured criticism from certain parents and community members.

The students have spoken, and what they've said is, "We're turning traditions on their heads and celebrating our friends just as they are." Seems like a fitting coming-of-age milestone for young adults heading into an increasingly diverse world.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

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