When I went to Burley in the eighth grade, my brother was a senior. My oldest brother was a senior. And there was something about being in the senior year that meant you were at the top of the heap, and you walked above everybody else, it seemed. And that was my perception of watching him and others in the senior class. They had all the stuff that we were about to encounter, and we all looked up to them. I gave that up when I went to Albemarle. At Albemarle, nobody was ever going to look up to me, and so I was never going to feel that. They canceled, as I recall, the prom that year. I remember Mr. Hurt calling me into the office one day and asking me, “If we have a prom, are you going to come?” And it’s a burden I shouldn’t have had to deal with, of course. And I have always regretted my answer to that. And I said something to him like, “I don’t want the other students,” — wow — “to be denied because of me.” And I think — and I hadn’t thought about this — there was a realization of all of this meaning sacrifice. I knew it was for me, and it was going to be, but it was a sacrifice for the white kids as well. Should I care? I don’t know. But I did, and I do. Adults put us through that, and none of us should’ve had to sacrifice.
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