Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Oregon Special Needs student voted prom queen at Southridge High School

Katie Shipley, a senior special needs student at Southridge High School, received the most votes ever in the school's history to be elected prom queen on May 16th.  Born with Trisomy 1 Mosaicism, a rare chromosome disorder, Shipley also has a form of dementia and was not expected to live to see her eighteenth birthday.  Now, the eighteen-year-old will be graduating this year from Southridge's special education program, as the Queen of her senior prom.

It all started, as the video below details, when Shipley expressed a desire to be part of the prom court.  Her friends, including her peer tutors at the school, worked without her knowledge to get her a nomination.  Their efforts were a success, and they filmed Shipley's reaction when they first told her that she was going to be a prom princess:

In the days that followed, Shipley's friends continued to work on her campaign to become queen.  Friend Courtney Travis tweeted a picture of Shipley and her date Michael Parks, explaining their plan to make Shipley's dreams a reality.  Fellow students Taylor Chapman and Tori Harman also helped spread awareness, and Travis noted that the idea was becoming very popular throughout the community.

On May 16th, Shipley donned a purple and gold gown and headed out to the prom at the World Trade Center.  With makeup applied by her friends, when the time came she lined up on stage with the rest of the prom court and waited for the results to be announced.  As she stood there, the crowd began to yell.

"Katie!  Katie!  Katie!"

The shouts rose up, and they kept on until the announcer named Katie Shipley as Southridge High School's 2015 Prom Queen.

2015 Prom Court with King Mikee and Queen Katie.
Posted by Southridge High School on Saturday, May 16, 2015

Later, Shipley's grandmother Joan Fraley would say that she was happy about the nomination, but concerned about how her granddaughter would feel if she weren't elected queen.  She needn't have worried.  Shipley received over 200 votes, the most votes for prom queen in Southridge High School's history.

You can read more about Katie Shipley's story on local sites and, and also on national sites like USA Today, MTV, NBC, and Buzzfeed.

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