ASHLAND, Miss. — A teen in Mississippi is breaking barriers on her school’s football field, both as a player and as homecoming queen.
Ashland High School is a school of acceptance.
“We are a predominantly black school. They don’t look at race, creed, color, whatever. They look at the person within and that’s what I’m most proud of,” Principal Dr Sandy Childs said.
Ashland High is a school of hope, and a school of celebrated differences.
“That’s truly what education should be, is acceptance of other cultures.” Childs said. This is what keeps her going in her first year as principal at Ashland High.
Straight-A student Ana Morales is a walking example. “[She’s] highly intelligent. The perfect child if you will,” Childs said.
The perfect child, now perfectly embedded in this school. She is much more than just a student, she’s also Ashland’s first Hispanic homecoming queen.
“It feels great. I mean, I’ve always felt like I’m a queen anyway so,” Ana said.
Ana isn’t someone who lacks confidence. She was placed on the homecoming ballot by school votes, and she had no idea or interest until she saw her name on the ballot.
“I had to win. I have to win. I’m on there so I have to win,” Ana said, and she did.
Dr. Childs said, “I cannot think of a better person as Ashland High Schools homecoming queen then Ana Morales. She represents the heart and soul of Ashland.”
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this picture you may only see Ana, in her white dress and crown, side by side a football player.
However, after being crowned, Ana went from heels to cleats. Ana is also a kicker on the football team, the first female on the team.
“She just has that x factor that make great players, great,” Coach Christopher Suggs said.
“She just came to me one day and was like, ‘I’m going to play football’ and I was like okay,” Suggs said.
Ana went to Suggs in the weight room – determined to become a powerlifter.
“There were some boys, and they were saying, ‘Oh I’m stronger than you I can do this.’ They were just talking like that, you know boys talk like that, so I just went on and did it,” Ana said.
She started powerlifting and that’s also what got her in football. She wanted to get stronger.
“People would talk, you know? The boys were saying, ‘Why is she even here? She’s a girl. I didn’t know girls could play. She’s not strong enough to play football,’” Ana said.
“She came out, and when I say just determined, the tenacity, she has something that most guys don’t have,” Suggs said. “She has a drive and ‘I can’t quit’ attitude and has a focus about what she’s doing. If I had 11 Ana’s I would be undefeated right now.”
“You know people coming up to me like, ‘How did you do it? Or can I play too? Can you help me?’” Ana said. “It doesn’t matter what anybody says whether you’re a girl or not you can do it.”