Teenagers often get a bad rap, but sometimes they’re so kind and and considerate it takes our breath away.
This year’s graduating class at Jefferson Forest High School in Virginia is a prime example. For the past few weeks, the seniors have been quietly orchestrating a delightful surprise for senior Zane Wales and his long-time girlfriend, junior Anna Anderson, who both have Down syndrome.
Back in February, teachers at the Forest, Virginia high school started hearing murmurings about nominating Zane for prom king. Naturally, that meant Anna would be right by his side as queen.
“Probably in February or March, I had a few students like, ‘You know what? This year, Zane Wales for prom king — let’s do it!'” recalled teacher Heather Hevener. “So, they started the campaign on their own, and then, when we asked for nominations, Zane’s name came through.”
“A few students were saying, ‘Zane Wales for prom king,’ and Zane and Anna have been together since middle school, so wherever Zane is, Anna’s there too, so it’s fitting for both of them to be prom king and queen,” agreed special education teacher Taylor Perkins, who works directly with Anna and Zane every day. “They’re such fun-loving, free spirited people, and anybody is lucky to know them, and the school is lucky to have them.”
Neither Zane nor Anna had any idea that they’d been nominated and selected — until their names were announced in front of the whole school!
Local businesses made the king and queen’s night even more memorable. Emerald Limousine provided a limo for them to get to and from the big dance, and Celebration Bridal donated Zane’s tuxedo and Anna’s dress. On prom night, Zane and Anna danced the night away surrounded by all of their friends. It turns out, the whole school is filled with friends of Zane and Anna. What a wonderful feeling!
At the end of the evening, Zane said wearing the crown was his favorite part of being prom king. For Anna, it was all about the dancing!
These teens may not even realize how special it is to put the spotlight on special needs students like this, but it’s a beautifully inclusive moment that they’ll never forget! Great job, seniors!
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