Teen elected as first Black homecoming queen in the SC school's history

ByAisha Frazier, GMA ABC logo
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Amber Wilsondebriano first black homecoming queen in the school's history.
Monique Wilsondebriano / GMA-ABC

CHARLESTON, South Carolina -- A South Carolina teen made history at her school after being elected the first Black homecoming queen in the school's history.

Amber Wilsondebriano is a 17-year-old senior at Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, S.C., and a proud co-founder of the school's Black Excellence Society.

Wilsondebriano told ABC News that while being the first Black homecoming queen comes with responsibility, it also comes with a great sense of pride and honor.

"Being the first African American homecoming queen means that children get to look at me and see themselves in me," Wilsondebriano told ABC News. "It's so important that they see that representation and know that anything is attainable for them."

The Porter-Gaud School, founded in 1867 as the Holy Communion Church Institute, is an Episcopal private school that became co-educational in 1972, the school told ABC News in a statement. The 1976-1977 school year was the first time a student was crowned homecoming queen. The student body nominates classmates to the homecoming court who they believe demonstrate strong character, leadership and are positive role models, the school said.

Porter-Gaud Head of School DuBose Egleston, in a statement to ABC News, said Wilsondebriano is a wonderful example of a student who exemplifies the school's mission.

"We celebrate Amber's election as she joins the many noteworthy homecoming queens we've had since our school became co-educational in 1972," Egleston said. "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."

Porter Gaud is a predominantly white institution, however Wilsondebriano said the school provides different opportunities for all students, and she has loved her 12 years at the school.

"The students are able to have such a positive experience regardless of race," Wilsondebriano said.

Wilsondebriano has been an active member in her school's community. She has co-founded many clubs, but told ABC News the Black Excellence Society holds special significance.

"We started this club at Porter-Gaud because we felt that the Black students needed a space to share their identity and share their culture with each other and learn more," Wilsondebriano said.

Wilsondebriano said her parents were overjoyed when she won homecoming queen. She said her mother, who doesn't usually cry, was brought to tears.

Her mother, Monique Wilsondebriano, told ABC News she always knew Amber was special.

"We're proud of Amber, you know, Amber has always had this light," Monique said. "It's just something special about her, and we all say it, we all see it."

Wilsonbebriano's father, Chevalo Wilsondebriano, told ABC News this win characterizes what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. hoped to accomplish with his work.

"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," Chevalo Wilsondebriano said. "This is the type of realization that Dr. King was looking for."

Wilsondebriano said she has many aspirations, including writing children's books, modeling and acting, but painting is her passion. She plans to attend Savannah College of Art and Design in the fall of 2024.

When asked what she would say to her younger self, Wilsondebriano said she would tell her, "Your Blackness is your pride."