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High schoolers stun their classmates with Down syndrome by crowning them prom king and queen
Their classmates had "plotted" this for weeks.
Luis Gaskell
07.02.22

Every student looks forward to prom night. It’s the night they get to dress their best and maybe bring a cute date. Prom is a pretty big deal in the US especially. It’s a staple plot element in a lot of coming-of-age movies.

We get it, prom is a big night. But have you ever stopped to think how prom is for people who were born a bit different from you? Of course, I’m talking about people with conditions like down syndrome.

YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10
Source:
YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10

High school students Zane Wales and Anna Anderson both have down syndrome. They’ve been dating since middle school.

Prom was fast approaching for the students at Jefferson Forest High School. Zane and Anna were attending just like everyone else.

YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10
Source:
YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10

But this prom would be a little different than most proms.

Unbeknownst to Zane, the other students had something special in store for him and Anna.

The plans were so grand that some teachers couldn’t help but overhear it from the students.

YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10
Source:
YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10

They wanted to make Zane their prom king. And naturally, Anna would be prom queen.

Inclusivity was the goal. They wanted Zane and Anna to feel accommodated at the school. Only 1 in 1,000 people are born with down syndrome.

People like Zane and Anna live their whole lives knowing they’re different from everybody else.

YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10
Source:
YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10

Their friends at the school wanted them to feel like they fit in, and that they were always welcome in their company.

Weeks of planning went into this.

“They see these kids every day. They walk the same halls with these same kids, and they just feel like they’re part of them, so they wanted to make sure that they also really felt part of them.” – said Heather Hevener, one of their teachers

And so the big day came, and everyone was there.

Zane was minding his own at the dance floor until a student with a mic called his name. Of course, he had no idea why.
YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10
Source:
YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10

The student at the top of the stairs then announced it. You’re our prom king, Zane!

Cheering ensued, and Zane raised his fist in the air to accept the cheers. But that wasn’t all of it. For every prom king, there should be a prom queen.
YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10
Source:
YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10

And here comes the prom queen, as chosen by the whole school: Anna!

She’s smiling, he’s smiling, and so is everyone else. This was a prom night to remember, for all the right reasons.

YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10
Source:
YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10

“They’re just so sweet and I hope this reaches other schools and programs- to be more inclusive as well.” – Hevener added

School can be a very different experience for some other people. Besides down syndrome, fitting in can also be a challenge for people with autism or bipolar disorder.

These students show that it’s possible to make everyone at school feel welcome.

It just takes learning – and if you think about it, some unlearning too.

YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10
Source:
YouTube screenshot - WSLS 10

Zane and Anna were still smiling after their prom coronation. Seems like it really meant a lot to them!

Watch how these students surprised Zane and Anna below. Please share this article as well!

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By Luis Gaskell
hi@sbly.com
Luis Gaskell is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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