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 The idea felt outdated when I was in high school decades ago.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.

Courtesy of CeraVe
True

"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by munshots on Unsplash

Last May, the whole world reacted to the murder of George Floyd caught on video by a quick-thinking teenage bystander. We watched the minutes tick by as Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd's neck. We watched Floyd tell the officers he couldn't breathe and then call out for his mother. We watched him stop talking, stop moving, stop breathing while Derek Chauvin kept on kneeling with his hand in his pocket.

While most of the attention has been on Chauvin's actions in that horrifying video, there were three other police officers involved at the scene.

Three other officers who participated in either helping hold Floyd down or watching as it happened. Three officers who witnessed their colleague murder a man in plain sight, with bystanders begging them to intervene, and doing nothing to stop it. Three officers who didn't even try to resuscitate the man who had stopped breathing right in front of them.

The accountability of those officers has been in question since Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter in the George Floyd case. Now, a federal grand jury has indicted all four officers, including Chauvin, for willfully violating George Floyd's constitutional rights.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of CeraVe
True

"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

Keep Reading Show less