LHS king, queen happy to represent school

Published 10:00 am Saturday, September 23, 2023

LaFayette High School seniors Cardaja Burney and Malik Burton were crowned the 2023 homecoming queen and king during the homecoming game last Friday.

Burney, daughter of Temekia Calloway and Carl Burney, was overcome by the announcement, but she is excited to be a positive representative for her school on and off campus.

“It feels good right now also to just be representing LaFayette High School,” Burney said.

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Burton, son of Shareka Burton and Carlos Burton, said it was a big surprise when his name was called too. The football player was running for homecoming king against his cousin. They campaigned together and agreed that no matter who won, they would both be celebrating.

“At the end of the day, we would’ve both won,” Burton said. 

Burney moved to LaFayette from Bullock County Schools in her junior year. The adjustment was a challenge, but she worked hard to communicate with her teachers and administrators. She made friends in FCCLA, Unite and her teacher education class. 

Being voted as homecoming queen helped her realize all of the lasting friendships she has made during her time at LaFayette High.

“It was really amazing, and I felt so so good when I heard my name get called,” she said. 

Whereas Burton was born and raised in LaFayette. When entering high school, he said he had to overcome his shyness to make connections. He was trying to find a passion outside of class when former Head Football Coach James Lucas encouraged him to try out for the football team.

“He did motivate me to play sports,” Burton said. 

Burton is also on the track team. 

Burney said her favorite subject in school is English. She enjoys reading books; one of her favorites is “To Kill a Mockingbird.” 

Both LaFayette’s homecoming king and queen have enjoyed being an example for their community. 

Burney said she loves going to the elementary school as part of her teacher education class and one day hopes to help children be successful. Burney hopes to attend Southern Union for Child Development. 

Burton said he enjoys seeing the younger kids of LaFayette run out on the field after a game. 

“I feel like I have to carry myself better to show them how you’re really supposed to act,” he said.

Burton plans to attend Alabama State and continue with sports. He said he is interested in pursuing sports management or business. 

Both Burney and Burton said they were grateful to their parents and teachers for their support throughout their education.

“Without her, I wouldn’t even be here,” Burton said of his mother. He also thanked Media Specialist Beverly Kavookjian, Football Coach Thornton and Pastor Kelsey Barnes.

“He played a major role in all of it,” Burton said of Barnes. “… He was the person that came to me when I felt like there just wasn’t nobody else around.”

As for Burney, her parents, teachers and counselor have all been a huge support. She said Principal Christy Brock-Johnson has also been a huge influence on her.

“They inspire me to keep going when I’m at my lowest,” Burney said. 

The homecoming queen and king both said they are grateful for the communitywide support they have received. 

“The support from the community and love people have for LaFayette, it just made it way better for us,” Burton said.