Not one, but two students with Down syndrome were appointed to the 2017 Homecoming Court at Buffalo Grove High School. Amanda Ewald and her best friend, Brett Wilkinson, both seniors at Buffalo Grove, were named homecoming Queen and King. For Amanda, it was a dream come true.
When talking to reporters from the Chicago Tribune, her mom recalls:
I remember telling Amanda, ‘Being homecoming queen is not just something you do, people have to vote for you.
Amanda said of the experience:
I was so excited and happy. All my friends keep coming up to me and saying, ‘Oh my gosh! Amanda, we’re so excited for you!’ I just feel so lucky to go here.
Brett and Amanda, who have known each other since their parents met at a Down syndrome support group, have gone to classes together since elementary school. When it came time for them to go to high school, they almost didn’t attend Buffalo Grove; school officials thought that the two should be enrolled in the special education program at another local school: John Hersey. However, their parents thought it would be best for them to be integrated in a regular school environment, and it looks as though they were right.
Both teens are very involved in their school community: Brett participates in dance, swim, basketball and baseball, and Amanda does swim, bowling and badminton. Not only have they grown through their experience at Buffalo Grove, but the student body has benefitted as well. It was only fitting that they should earn the honor of being homecoming king and queen.
Brett’s mother, Sandy Wilkinson says:
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The world is not a self-contained classroom, and while I knew it would benefit Brett to be in regular ed classes at Buffalo Grove, what I didn’t realize is how much it has benefited all of the other students. These students will go on to become our children’s bosses, their caretakers and those who are writing the laws for them.