When the message blared across the loudspeakers, naming Emily Kendall homecoming queen, no one was surprised.
No one except Emily Kendall, that is.
Friends of Kendall, a senior with Down syndrome at Mobile Christian School
in Alabama, said that her mouth dropped open after she heard her name. Her classmates cheered wildly.
Soon, she was pumping her fist and taking a bow — lots of bows, actually.
“She deserved it,” said Claire Collins, last year’s queen and a close friend of Kendall, who proudly placed the queen’s crown on her head. “You want your homecoming queen to be someone who talks to anyone, sits with anyone. Emily is definitely that girl.”
Kendall’s parents, Tony and Kathy Kendall, members of the Regency Church of Christ
in Mobile, wanted their daughter to experience high school — even if she couldn’t meet the academic requirements to graduate.
They considered three public schools, but decided that Mobile Christian School “would be a tremendously positive experience” for their daughter, Kathy Kendall said. The private school, associated with Churches of Christ, could not give Emily Kendall a diploma, but agreed to take her as a student, promising to do their best to challenge her without frustrating her.
“The teachers have been very accommodating and willing to work with her,” Kathy Kendall said. Her daughter walks the same halls, goes to the same classes and helps in the office.
At homecoming, after the shock wore off a little, Emily Kendall looked up at her father and said, “I’m so happy!”
He tearfully replied, “We are all happy tonight, Emily!”