In the photo included here the students are working together to get ready for their prom. How cool is that!
Nearly 15 years before Gerica McCrary was born, recently integrated Taylor County High School stopped sponsoring a prom. Parents and students set up their own -- one for blacks and one for whites.Now, if they can just share this view with their parents ... and ALL parents ... imagine how the country might change.
The tradition continued for 31 springs in this rural county of 8,800 midway between Columbus and Macon in central Georgia until McCrary asked her fellow juniors to "stand for what is right" and vote to hold one prom for students of all races.
"In the beginning, the students were afraid of change," the black 17-year-old said. "But the kids got together. The students tore down the Berlin Wall. Both sides were tired of it.
Taylor County High School has 420 students, 226 of them black. Nearly 75 percent of the juniors and seniors supported McCrary's proposal for one prom.The president of the Georgia Association of Educators, Ralph Noble, said the decision "truly shows that children are wiser than adults many times."
The decision upset a few parents, but only because they have a hard time adjusting to change, said Steve Smith, a high school algebra teacher who attended Taylor County schools during desegregation. He and his wife are assisting the junior class on behalf of their daughter and niece, both Taylor County students.
Public schools in the rural South ignored federal orders to desegregate for decades. Taylor County did not allow blacks and whites to sit in the same classrooms until 16 years after the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, which declared segregated schools unconstitutional.
McCrary, who has a 4.0 average and participates in several extracurricular activities, said she was inspired by a classroom slogan that said: "Stand for what is right, or stand alone."Good for you Gerica! Hopefully, others will follow your example.
"At first, I was standing alone," she said. "Some thought it was absurd. I wanted unity, diversity, equality. Now, when I walk through the school, people congratulate me."