First class for Mississippi school after desegregation deal - - Jackson, MS

First class for Mississippi school after desegregation deal

CLEVELAND, Miss. (AP) - Students in one Mississippi Delta town are graduating from a combined high school for the first time following a desegregation settlement.

The first class at Cleveland Central High School is collecting diplomas Saturday.

The district settled last year with the federal government in its continuing desegregation case. Local officials agreed to combine historically white Cleveland High and historically black East Side High, as well as two middle schools.

A judge found the paired schools to be an illegal vestige of segregation.

Valedictorian Kiyah Brown tells WREG-TV that she had doubts about the forced combination, fearing students would remain separated. Senior Ryan Smith, though, says students are more united than he had expected.

Principal Randy Grierson says the successful first year shows "you can do the impossible."

Information from: WREG-TV.

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