Her favorite part of being prom queen, Katie Haugh said, was the dancing.
The 19-year-old senior at Douglas High School has Down syndrome, and though she’s a little shy, neither of those things stopped her from winning the support of her classmates to become prom queen. Once elected, Haugh embraced her coronation and cut loose at the prom dance to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” earlier this month.
Haugh’s coronation as prom queen was the result of an organized election campaign put together by her friends and classmates, according to Branson Taylor, 18.
“It was awesome, just watching everyone come together, that’s what was really cool to see,” Taylor said. “When the voting day did come, everyone was pulling for Katie.”
Haugh’s mother, Donna, who works as a special education aide at Douglas, said the push to get Katie on the prom court came as a complete surprise.
“They made posters and had tickets they had at the door that said ‘Vote for Katie,’” Donna Haugh said. “The kids here are amazing. They like Katie, and Katie likes them.”
As this year’s homecoming king, Taylor was the one who placed the prom queen crown on Katie’s head.
“That was the loudest cheer, when Katie came out,” Branson said. “The place went wild.”
Once on stage, Katie’s mother said, “She did a little double fist pump and she did a little hop.”
Taylor also walked with her during the grand march ceremony.
It isn’t the first time that a South Dakota community has come together to honor and celebrate someone with Down syndrome.
Last fall, the Sturgis Scoopers football team decided to let Tayler Reichelt, a senior with Down syndrome who played for the Mitchell football team, score one of the final points of a game.