By the time she heard the public address announcer call her name, it may be that the only person surprised was Allyssa Brubeck herself.
So there she was last Friday night, the new homecoming queen, a 19-year-old with Down syndrome, jumping and jumping under the football stadium lights as the full crowd from Park Hill South High School cheered and cried.
“Everyone in the stands was crying,” said 18-year-old classmate Leah Smith. “Everyone loves her.”
And perhaps the best part of the whole experience, say some of the adults who watched it unfold, is that all those high school teenagers behind the Allyssa-for-Homecoming-Queen phenomenon don’t seem to understand what all the outside attention is about.
They certainly understood Allyssa’s popularity in the school she has attended all four years. Always smiling. Always hugging.
“She deserved to be homecoming queen,” said Sam Boling, 17, who was a runner-up for queen.
But the school’s journalists reporting the outcome had to be persuaded by their teacher that Allyssa’s disability might be worth a larger story on its own.
The students are a bit perplexed that the district’s posting of the story on its Facebook page with Allyssa’s picture went rocketing across the Internet. The number of “likes” was approaching 1,500 in the first 24 hours of its posting. The number of hits as it was being shared passed 10,000. Nothing on the district’s page had drawn anywhere near that much attention before.
READ MORE: Click belowthe original article from Kansas City Star, written by Joe Robertson