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The students of Waverly-Shell Rock Senior High School in Iowa chose a unique individual to crown homecoming queen this week. 17-year-old Courtney Tharp was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was nine months old, but her dazzling smile and positive attitude helped win her the crown.
Sitting on the throne beside Courtney was the crowned homecoming king Kaleb Staack, who had nothing but good things to say about his queen.
“I was happy — anybody would be — but I was more focused on Courtney,” he told Today News. “It was such a great feeling when she won. ... She comes to school every day with a big smile on her face. She is happy 110 percent of the time. She loves life, and she makes the best out of everything. She’s a big inspiration to everybody.”
When the announcement was made that Courtney was queen, other members of the homecoming court took turns giving her high fives. Her parents, who watched on, broke out in tears of joy when the announcement was made. When they first heard that Courtney made the homecoming court, however, they were weary, until associate principal Jeremy Langner assured them that the voting results were sincere.
“Jeremy called me and said, 'This is really a genuine thing. They’re not being mean — this isn’t a prank or anything. They really and truly adore your daughter,'" said Courtney’s mother, Amy Tharp.
ABC News reported that some of the other girls on the court even voted for Courtney.
Courtney’s mom said that attending the public high school has been a great experience for her daughter, who isn’t able to carry out motor skills as well as her classmates. The students are reportedly all very kind and understanding to Courtney.
“Kids with special needs are not segregated like they used to be,” she told Today. “The kids just know that this is Courtney and this is how she is, and they accept it.”
Image: YouTube screen shot