Three beauties photographed by Carolyn Pass
Never has the selection of a homecoming queen sent so many tears falling so freely.
Kristin Pass, an 18-year-old senior with Down syndrome, became Aledo High School’s homecoming queen Friday to a joyous standing ovation and the flutter of a thousand tissues on a remarkable night for an amazing young woman.
Her grandfather, Dr. David Campbell of Corsicana, escorted her onto the field and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek as Kristin joined eight other young women in the Homecoming Court to await the results of the vote, cast by the 360-plus members of Aledo High’s senior class.
“Oh my gosh! I was sitting in the student section and everyone stood up, crying and cheering for Kristin,” said longtime friend and fellow senior Meaghan Geary, 17, who first met Kristin in the third grade. “It was great!”
We live in a society where being “different” is either an affect (in which case, it is usually accepted as “eccentric” or “counter-cultural”) or it is rejected as being “difficult.” People with Down Syndrome have been increasingly rejected by a society that thinks the best way to deal with that extra chromosome is to just destroy the person, in utero.
But we cheat ourselves when we disallow these “difficultly different.” We lose exposure to a way of viewing things that is simplified, and usually reduced to love – without prejudice. Crazy open-ness, rejecting nothing and no one. Instead of believing we can learn anything from them, our society – thinking we know it all – finds these people expendable. One only has to look at the rantings of some that Sarah Palin should have aborted her son, Trig, to realize how far we have come into the mindset that certain people are disposable, particularly if they are seen as being “useless” to the larger society.
Because there is no use in human beings capable of unconditional love, is there? Because in a world so full of anger and a hate that is so free-flowing it barely needs a reason, we can’t use a little bit of all-accepting love?
Her selection as homecoming queen was a wonderful surprise. But Meaghan seemed to have an inkling that it could happen.
“Everyone loves Kristin,” she said, “and I didn’t know for sure, but in class everyone was like, ‘Who are you voting for?’ and everybody was like, ‘Vote for Kristin, she’s so good.’ ”
Kristin doesn’t care what’s on the outside, Meaghan said. She’s friends with everyone, and everyone admires that.
“She’s the person we all want to be,” Meaghan said.
Nothing to learn there, I suppose.