TN Kids Make Homecoming Special

Unionville, TN

We are so proud of another great bunch of kids right here in Tennessee who pulled off quite a surprise at their Homecoming celebration.

Students Jesse Cooper, Drew Gibbs and Zeke Grissom were all nominated for homecoming king at Community High School's basketball homecoming ceremony.  But these 3 had something else in mind at the crowning. 

The teens decided it didn’t matter who won, because ALL 3 of them decided they would NOT accept the crown...instead...they would give the crown to someone else.

So when Jesse Cooper was announced KING, the 3 presented the crown to Scotty Maloney, a beloved student with a genetic condition, called Williams Syndrome, a neurological disorder that inhibits learning and speech.

"I've been blessed with so many things," Cooper told ABC News' Nashville affiliate WKRN-TV. "I just wanted Scotty to experience something great in his high school days."

"He's always happy, so he deserves some recognition for who he is," Gibbs said.

The crowd erupted with cheers and Maloney got a long standing ovation, WKRN reported, as he was awarded his "King" medal.

"Scotty is fabulous. He is a superstar. He knows everybody. There's not one person that Scotty does not know," she said. "To know him and meet him is to love him."

Students like Cooper help out in special needs gym classes and other activities. Gassaway said the boys' gesture toward Maloney sent a greater message.

"We want people to have more empathy towards people, not be scared of people with disabilities," she said. "We want them to embrace them, more like the boys did."

Next year Maloney will get to crown the school's new homecoming king. But for now, he is proudly sporting his medal everywhere he goes.

"He's been wearing his medal around," Gassaway said with a laugh. "He is not here today because he had a doctor's appointment, but I'm sure he has his medal on."