Sometimes I read stories about teen sexting and drinking and I worry for our future. And then I read stories like this one, and I just have to believe -- the kids are all right. Students at Waverly-Shell Rock Senior High School in Waverly, Ohio elected a girl with cerebral palsy as their Homecoming Queen. Courtney Tharp was surprised, then overjoyed to be crowned by her peers. "She was really excited," says assistant principal Jeremy Langner. "At first she was reluctant to respond, but she started giving everybody high fives. Her face was priceless. It was a really neat moment."
This story has special resonance for me because my youngest sister, Marisa, has cerebral palsy. She's known some heartbreaking discrimination. But the love, kindness, and appreciation she's experienced from her peers has far outweighed her negative encounters. Like Courtney, she's brought positive energy to every community she's ever been in, and people love that. Langer describes Courtney's contribution, and why she so well deserves her crown.
The student body enjoys Courtney being around. She really embodies the community as well, with her love for learning and the passion for being a Go-Hawk. On a daily basis she brings the right attitude.
But this isn't just about Courtney. This is about all the students. It's amazing that all these kids recognize and value someone like Courtney. This speaks well of them. Their parents should be proud. They could have voted in someone "cooler," more popular. But instead, they voted with their hearts.
"Honestly, I'm more excited for Courtney than for myself," says Homecoming King Kaleb Staack. "I mean, yeah, it's a great honor, but for someone like Courtney to be my queen, that's just perfect." Oh my God, who raised that sweet boy?
I can't remember who won homecoming queen when I was in high school. But I'll bet you these students will never forget who they voted for.
Are you surprised that the students elected Courtney as their homecoming queen?
Image via KWWL