IDER, Ala. (WHNT) — A young lady with special needs was voted by her peers to be on Ider High School’s homecoming court. During the homecoming game, she and her parents got an unbelievable surprise, and a new memory.
The sound of a full band blasts up into the crowded stands. Black and gold are the colors you should be wearing. The Hornets are the team you should be pulling for. This is Ider High School’s 2013 homecoming game.
Inside the gym the noise of the Hornets trying to claim a victory is muffled to a dull roar. That’s where Taylor Mitchell and her parents are sitting, waiting for halftime.
That’s when she’ll ride out into the bright stadium lights. Someone will be crowned queen.
Taylor has cerebral palsy. As she sits in her wheelchair wearing a bright red dress – Georgia Bulldog red, her mom proudly points out – she fingers her diamond bracelet, twirls a curl in her elaborate up-do.
Charles and Rita Mitchell are Taylor’s parents. Her mom says the days leading up to the game were an experience they’ll always remember, no matter what happens at halftime. “Just overwelming. Just an emotional rollercoaster today.”
Finally the time comes. Taylor and her dad ride slowly around the field in a vintage truck. Their final stop is the endzone, where Taylor is wheeled down a ramp and onto the field.
Then comes the moment Taylor’s mom and dad dreamed of, but never thought would become a reality.
As she makes her way down the fifty yard line, the packed crowd stands up.
Then, the loudspeaker blasts over the cheers. “It’s time to announce our 2013 Ider High School homecoming queen. The winner is …”
A long pause. Taylor’s mom, on the sidelines, has her hands over her mouth, her eyes are full of tears. She’s smiling.
“…and the winner is, Taylor Brooke Mitchell!”
As the former queen comes out to crown Taylor the entire stands, both visiting and away, stand up. The cheering lasts for minutes.
It doesn’t stop.
What the Mitchells thought could never happen did, and it was all done by Taylor’s peers.
Ider has a new homecoming queen.
And thanks to the Ider Hornets, Taylor and her parents have a memory to cherish.
Paloma Vasquez has special needs like Taylor. Also like Taylor, she was voted to be on the court.
Dressed in a bright yellow dress, Paloma walked across the field and stood alongside the peers that put her there.
Her family sat in the stands, proudly watching as she stood in the bright lights, and jewelry sparkling.
Her dad, Sergio Vasquez, says this is a night none of them will forget. “I just want to thank the school, the community, the teachers, everybody who’s helped us. All I can say is thank you.”
For two young ladies, their families, a school, and a community homecoming this year, won’t be one they will ever forget.