Georgian school holds its first integrated prom
A Georgian high school broke tradition, holding its first racially integrated prom Saturday, according to an AP story (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18268256/).
Students at Turner County High School in Ashburn, Ga., had traditionally held separate, unofficial proms, one raised by white students for themselves and one raised by blacks for themselves.
However, at the start of this year, four senior class officers decided they wanted one unified prom. School prinicpal Chad Stone helped the students fund the party with $5,000 in discretionary funds.
Turner County is small, with only 4,000 people and mainly focused on the peanut industry. The high school is one thing that gives the area a sense of community. The school had also recently named a single homecoming queen, removing an old tradition of having a black and white queen.
Despite efforts at unification, many upper-class white students did not buy tickets to the prom and some white students held a small party a week before prom.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, Mandy Albertson and James Hall, a white female and black male who have been longtime friends, had been planning this prom since middle school (http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0423/p20s01-ussc.html?page=2). James Hall, the senior class president, came to Stone with the idea. Hall said that in previous years the administration had said the students didn't support a unified prom and they even rejected a referendum on the idea a few years ago.
Another woman, Tameka Jones, a black women who graduated from Turner HS in 1995 said the event is only a short-step to help race relations. There is railroad track in towns separating white and black neighborhoods, often referred to as "the line."
Principal Stone said that one, integrated prom will now be the tradition, as long as he is principal.
I really liked both these stories. The AP story takes a more hard news approach, with limited quotes and an emphasis on the hard facts. The story balances the perspective of the school administration with that of the students. There is also some good description of the events. I thought the history of the situation was left a little vague. On the other hand, the Monitor piece was very detailed, taking more of a "feature" approach. The lead is a catchy, although slightly cliched, statement about the connectivity of the student body. The Monitor piece utilized lots of quotes and surprisingly long ones. To balance this, there was a lot of detailed description of the ceremony and the people in the story. Each person interviewed jumps off the page. The story does a great job expressing humanity. The story also establishes a sense of history better than the AP story, although I still think more information should've been brought in. I also think both stories missed the perspective of the parents. But I thought overall the reporting was thorough.