Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Homecoming King challenges society's preconceptions about what he could or should do

Fall Friday nights in South Texas mean high school football. Along with the season come traditions such as homecoming and the election of student body royalty.

Homecoming kings and queens and their royal courts represent a flight of fancy, an opportunity to play make-believe and claim the regal titles of a fantasy world. But what took place last week at Alamo Heights High School was a real-world lesson about human spirit and the nobility of human character.

Heights senior Drew Boynton has Down syndrome. At some point, he mentioned to classmates his desire to become this year's homecoming king.

It might have seemed like a whimsical notion at first. But the campaign to elect Drew gained momentum, first among his fellow special education students and their peer mentors, then among others in the student body.

When the votes were tallied last week, Drew had won the crown. In an emotional halftime ceremony Friday night at Orem Stadium, Drew claimed his title.

Not so many years ago, the idea that students with developmental disabilities could be educated in a traditional school environment seemed like a whimsical notion. Yet people like Drew have challenged society's preconceptions about what they could or should do.

Alamo Heights students deserve praise for turning Drew's dream into a reality that he will cherish for a lifetime. But the biggest congratulations are due to Drew for reminding those around him of the potential for greatness that resides within every human being.

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