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Amber Wilsondebriano said becoming the first Black homecoming queen is a major responsibility and provides her with a sense of pride and honor.
“It’s so important that they see representation” said Wilsondebriano, a 17-year-old senior at Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, South Carolina.
She told ABC News, “Being the first African-American homecoming queen means that children get to look at me and see themselves in me.”
Wilsondebriano was crowned the first Black homecoming queen in 155 years
In 1867, the school was founded as the Holy Communion Church Institute, an Episcopal private school, becoming co-educational in 1972.
During the 1976-1977 school year, it was the first time a student became homecoming queen.
The student body selects a homecoming court who best embody leadership, strong character, and a positive influence to other students.
Porter-Gaud Head of School DuBose Egleston, expressed that Wilsondebriano represents the school well. In a statement they noted, “We celebrate Amber’s election as she joins the many noteworthy homecoming queens we’ve had since our school became co-educational in 1972…We are fortunate to have Amber as a member of our community, and we are pleased that Amber and her family have had such a positive and meaningful experience during their 12 years here on our campus.”
Despite the school being predominately White, Wilsondebriano believes that it provides different opportunities for all students, giving them a safe space to learn. She stated that, “the students are able to have such a positive experience regardless of race.”
Wilsondenbriano is very active at her school. She’s co-founded clubs like the Black Excellence Society for students “to share their identity and share their culture with each other and learn more.”
Amber’s parents couldn’t be more proud of their queen
Monique Wilsondenbriano, was overjoyed, when she found out her daughter won homecoming queen. She brought her mother to tears, someone who apparently never cries.
Her father, Chevalo Wilsondenbriano, explains that she is embodying a civil rights icon in her achievement.
Chevalo states, “They chose her. People in her grade, in her class chose her not for the color of her skin, but for the content of her character… This is the type of realization that Dr. King was looking for.”
Homecoming queen was only one accomplished goal of Wilsondenbriano. She also strives to write children’s books, model, act, and follow her passion to paint.
After senior graduation, Wilsondenbriano plans to attend Savannah College of Art and Design in fall of 2024.