It’s the stuff feel-good Hollywood movies are made of. A high school senior in Texas was crowned prom queen on April 9, but instead of parading around in her regalia, she swiftly passed her crown and sash to a fellow student and nominee with Down syndrome.
While Keilany Solano, a 17-year-old senior at Leander High School in Leander, Texas, was thrilled to win the title, she knew it would have more meaning for Abby Cano.
“I decided to give Abby the tiara and sash because I knew at that moment she would be happier than me — and she deserved it because she would remember and appreciate that moment more than me,” Solano said to Yahoo Style. “She was extremely happy and was smiling so hard when I put the tiara and sash on her.”
Cano, who Solano described as a “sweet girl…[who] can put a smile on anyone’s face,” can be seen in pictures visibly happy, hugging Solano.
The senior’s classmates were so taken with her actions on prom night that they decided to re-stage the ceremony in class a couple of weeks later.
In a video posted to Twitter, one of Solano’s classmates said they were “extremely proud” of her and that she was “an amazing prom queen,” as another student crowned her and gave her a sash.
Needless to say, Solano was equally surprised and humbled.
— Kyla Mills (@kylamills5) April 18, 2017
“When they re-crowned me, I was surprised and felt honoured to have all my friends and teachers around me,” she said. “It made me feel special, and it was a moment I’ll never forget.”
Although proms and the social hierarchy that accompanies them have been negatively portrayed in movies and on television, it would seem the current generation of high school graduates is pushing aside the stereotypes and making room for diversity.
On the same weekend of Leander High’s prom, students at a South Dakota high school elected Katie Haugh, a senior with Down syndrome, prom queen.
“It was a surprise just to be put on the court, but when she got crowned I was just happy and then the tears just started flowing,” Katie’s mom, Donna, said to KOTA TV.
Not only were Haugh’s classmates rooting for her win, they also played a part in it. Her prom escort, Branson Taylor, told the news station that he and fellow classmates were campaigning for Haugh leading up to the event.
“We made signs and people were standing at the front door handing out ballots saying vote for Katie,” he said.
Since her win, Donna says her daughter has been on Cloud 9.
“She was actually sick. Very sick, she was out for six months so she needed this.”