Diamond Walker was a junior when she first started thinking about her senior prom.
She talked with some friends about running for prom king "because I wanted to go out my senior year with a bang," she said.
Walker, now 18 and a recent graduate of Rantoul Township High School is bisexual, and she just wanted to do something that the school would talk about next year, and years after that.
"I wanted to do something to be remembered by," Walker said.
So, this past school year, she talked to a school staff member about the idea of running for prom king, a title traditionally awarded to a male student.
"I just thought it would be cool idea for my senior year, especially since no one in school history had done it."
Walker ultimately met with the school's principal, Todd Wilson, and he told her that the school would support her, but also warned her about backlash from people at school or within the community.
He told Walker "to just ignore," any negative comments, Walker said.
The official announcement was made Friday night, April 26, at a prom-related event, held in the school's cafeteria. The actual prom was the next day at The Linden, a banquet facility in Rantoul.
"I was nervous, so nervous. I didn't know if anyone would actually support me, or stick with the tradition that the guy has to win [the king title]," she said. "The closer it got [to the announcement of the king and the queen], the more nervous I got.
"I wanted to win so, so bad."
The queen was announced first, a deviation from tradition as the king has long been announced first. "When that happened, I thought I hadn't won," Walker said.
Then Wilson made the announcement, or attempted to. He said, "And the 2013 prom king is, Miss …" the whole cafeteria erupted in cheers for Walker at that point.
Walker's mom, who was in the cafeteria at the time, started crying. So too did the prom king's prom queen's parents, and they showed support for Walker.
"It was fun," Walker said. "The highlight was, the whole thing.
"The fact that people who I don't hang out with normally at school, or talk to on a regular basis, voted and supported me, that meant a lot. Plus, I have since had under-classmen approach me to say that my winning [prom king] made them feel good about themselves because I stood out from everyone else and wasn't scared to face everyone's opinion, what others say, and just be myself."
Walker was a four-year varsity basketball player at Rantoul Township, and also a two-year shortstop on the school's varsity softball team.
She will attend Parkland Community College in the fall and is hoping to pursue a degree in criminal justice. She wants to eventually because a crime scene investigator.
"If I can help someone come out of their shell, be comfortable in their skin, that helps me feel better," she said. "Overall, it was a pretty cool experience, better than I expected."
Walker attended prom with her cousin, Krystin Graybill, who will be a high school senior in the fall.
There were no other same-sex couples at this year's Rantoul Township prom, she said.
"[Running for prom king] shows that I'm not scared to come out of my comfort zone and shows everyone who I am, and proud of it," Walker said.