senior court gail byrd annabella calderon
SENIOR ROYALTY. Seniors Abigail Byrd and Annabella Calderon celebrate winning king and queen. photo/Emma Summer

Seniors Abigail Byrd and Annabella Calderon won Senior Court king and queen after the Lady Braves basketball game on Jan. 27. 

Club sponsors nominated student leaders for the court. Then, the senior class voted for king and queen on Jan. 26.

“I was in complete and utter shock. I didn’t expect to win,” Calderon said.

Calderon, Best Buddies president, felt excited to represent the organization and the inclusivity of ESE students on campus.

“Winning was such a great moment for me because at the end of the day I really believe in inclusion, especially spreading that kind of positivity on campus,” Calderon said.

Calderon noted that Best Buddies is the most fulfilling club she participated in during her four years on campus. She plans to continue with the organization when she attends college.

“Being president of Best Buddies has been the best experience ever,” Calderon said.

Byrd represented Speech and Debate. They are the Speech and Debate captain.

“It didn’t really hit me that I won until I saw Mr. Johns walking over with the crown and sash itself,” Byrd said.

Byrd identifies as non-binary and became the first non-male student to win king.

“I have had a couple people say I was inspiring, which is so strange because I am just trying to be myself,” Byrd said.

Senior Class sponsor Lisa Maccarone originally placed Byrd in the queen category. Byrd then requested a placement in the king category and clarified that they use “they/them” pronouns. Byrd claimed they felt more comfortable in the king category.

“I think being able to bring this positive change to the speech and debate club is awesome and I was happy to do it. Speech and debate club itself has allowed me to learn how to express myself in certain ways, ” Byrd said.

This win opens the door for future court nominations. Byrd set a precedent that allows non-binary students to win future homecoming, prom and senior courts.

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