Ask 17-year-old Xavier Atkinson “Who’s the king?” and he’ll point to himself.
“Yeah, you are!” his special education teachers at Miamisburg High School will respond.
Atkinson and his longtime friend, Rachel Goris, 17, were crowned homecoming king and queen at Miamisburg High School’s homecoming game Friday.
The video of them being presented at the dance on Saturday, which Atkinson’s father, Todd, posted on his Facebook page, had nearly 22,000 views and had been shared more than 360 times as of Tuesday evening.
“They were very excited. They felt like royalty the whole time, and it was just like their year; their life has been totally made,” said Jennifer Brockert, an intervention specialist at Miamisburg High School.
The road to the crown started Sept. 10 when Atkinson’s sister, Xailey, 16, sent out a tweet to the senior class explaining that Atkinson and Goris enjoy parades.
“They love walking around and waving to people and knowing that people want to see them,” the tweet said. “…There’s nothing that both of them would love more than being in the parade and walking across Harmon field. So 2016 seniors…Help a sister out and make his high school career!”
The senior class voted Atkinson and Goris onto the court.
“ Our student body just embraces them – they’re always smiling and always in a good mood and just students joyful to be here at school,” said Miamisburg High School Principal Craig Morris.
Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, the student body voted to make them homecoming royalty.
“I feel like our community is definitely a lot more inclusive than it was at one point, and it’s really exciting to see how that works,” Xailey Atkinson added.
Morris and Brockert agree.
“I have been doing this 15 years as an intervention specialist, and I have seen a shift in just that amount of time … among the student body and how they accept those students with different needs,” Brockert explained.
She said the school has worked to make sure special needs students interact with the entire student body as much as possible by having them deliver the mail to classrooms, spending time in the lunchroom, and participating in gym class with the other students.
“I think this will just carry over and do nothing but enhance the respect and caring attitude that our student body has here at Miamisburg High School,” Morris said.