Seventeen-year-old Elijah Lester is a senior at Frisco High School in Texas this year, and as we all know, that’s a big deal.
It’s your last chance to do any number of things, from attending high school football games (as a student, anyway) and participating in school plays to finding dates for the homecoming dances and prom. Senior Ryan Abbott got to know Elijah after the two were paired as part of the school’s Best Buddies program, which partners students who have disabilities with those who don’t.
Those partnerships are meant to help them feel more connected with their peers, but by the sounds of it, Elijah has more friends and fans than he knows what to do with. In fact, Ryan describes him as “the life of the school … Everybody loves him. Everybody knows him.”
The cool kids are always nominated for Homecoming King and Queen, and considering how popular he is, it’s no wonder he, along with three other students with Down syndrome, was nominated to the school’s homecoming court last month.
But can you even begin to imagine how he must have felt when the ballots were all counted… and he won?! Meanwhile, another special-needs student, Crystal Martinez, was crowned queen!
One mother, Stacy Long-De La Cruz, was so proud that she posted a picture of the two standing in the field, their arms loaded down with flowers, saying, “Our children have their hearts in the right place! So proud! Happy cry!” And her friends enthusiastically chimed in…
“Perfect!!! That is how it should be!!!” one person replied. “Way to go Frisco Schools for Being so kind and acknowledging that every person matters.”
You can say that again! These students are still only in their teens, and the fact that they’re already showing so much empathy and compassion should give us all hope for a bright future. Share to spread congratulations to Elijah and Crystal!