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GUEST,Wesley S BS: Down Syndrome girl - Homecoming Queen (17) RE: BS: Down Syndrome girl - Homecoming Queen 12 Oct 08


Aledo High seniors pick classmate with Down syndrome as homecoming queen

10:09 PM CDT on Saturday, October 11, 2008
By MICHAEL E. YOUNG / The Dallas Morning News
myoung@dallasnews.com

Never has the selection of a homecoming queen sent so many tears falling so freely.

Kristin Pass, an 18-year-old senior with Down syndrome, became Aledo High School's homecoming queen Friday to a joyous standing ovation and the flutter of a thousand tissues on a remarkable night for an amazing young woman.

Her grandfather, Dr. David Campbell of Corsicana, escorted her onto the field and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek as Kristin joined eight other young women in the Homecoming Court to await the results of the vote, cast by the 360-plus members of Aledo High's senior class.

Then came the announcement ... and pandemonium.

"Oh my gosh! I was sitting in the student section and everyone stood up, crying and cheering for Kristin," said longtime friend and fellow senior Meaghan Geary, 17, who first met Kristin in the third grade. "It was great!"

Carolyn Pass stood at the edge of the football field, taking pictures of her daughter and friends' daughters in the court, when the stadium erupted.

"It's just something you can't even imagine," she said. "And afterward, everyone was just running down to her, congratulating her. And the other girls in the court, they're all just beautiful girls, inside and out."

Ms. Pass said she spoke later with a friend. "She said the only mistake anyone made was not handing out crying towels."

The vote may have been a surprise, but no one who knows Kristin doubts her popularity, her mother said.

"Kristin has a lot of friends she likes everyone. It doesn't matter if you're tall or short, pretty, not pretty, smart, not smart she likes everybody. She has great friends. And Aledo is a great community."

"She's just the neatest kid in the whole wide world," added her aunt, Chari Hust of Houston, "and everybody sees that."

Clay Gilmer, who works in the stadium press box, running the scoreboard and clock, said people pushed toward the windows as the young women were introduced.

"They were all pulling for Kristin," Mr. Gilmer said.

When she won, he was thrilled. "This has been such a special time, a special week for Kristin," he said. "And I was really taken by the maturity and the love shown by her friends, her peers, her classmates.

"That makes this a double blessing."

Kristin pronounced the evening "exciting" and "awesome."

She was so thrilled, her mother said, that she took her crown to bed with her.

"She's real proud of it," her friend Meaghan added.

Kristin and her family, including sister Kendall, now a freshman, moved to Aledo when Kristin was in the third grade. She was embraced by the people in town through good times and bad, including the death of her dad, J.T., two years ago.

"We've always had great experiences here," her mom said. "We've been blessed, and I think Kristin brings a lot of blessings to the people she knows."

Her selection as homecoming queen was a wonderful surprise. But Meaghan seemed to have an inkling that it could happen.

"Everyone loves Kristin," she said, "and I didn't know for sure, but in class everyone was like, 'Who are you voting for?' and everybody was like, 'Vote for Kristin, she's so good.' "

Kristin doesn't care what's on the outside, Meaghan said. She's friends with everyone, and everyone admires that.

"She's the person we all want to be," Meaghan said.


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