Anna Anderson and Zane Wales' classmates had been campaigning to crown them for more than two months.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on May 5, 2022
Two students with Down syndrome were crowned their high school's prom king and queen by their classmates. Anna Anderson and Zane Wales were bestowed with the honor last month at Jefferson Forest High School in Virginia, according to WSET. Teacher Heather Hevener said their classmates wanted to show Anna and Zane how much they were loved and how important they are to their community. "They see these kids every day," said Hevener. "They walk the same halls with these same kids, and they just feel like they're part of them, so they wanted to make sure that they also really felt part of them."
Hevener said the students had been planning to pick a prom king and queen since February. The teacher said the students had begun a campaign by themselves to crown Anna and Zane. "Probably in February or March, I had a few students like, 'You know what? This year, Zane Wales for prom king — let's do it!'" she recalled. "So, they started the campaign on their own, and then, when we asked for nominations, Zane's name came through," Hevener explained. The favorite part of being named prom king and prom queen for Anna was the dancing but for Zane it was about getting the crown. Even as their friends made elaborate plans and ran campaigns to help them win, Zane and Anna had no idea they were going to win.
Meet your Jefferson Forest High School prom king and queen! Zane Wales and Anna Anderson were crowned over the weekend thanks to their classmates 👑— Madison Doner (@MadisonDoner) April 28, 2022
Hear from them about their crowning tomorrow morning on @ABC13News pic.twitter.com/9FIb8aWiYd
Local companies truly showed that Anna and Zane's story wasn't just important to the school but also the local community. Businesses pitched in money to make their night a memorable one. Emerald Limousine provided a limo to transport them to the prom while Celebration Bridal donated their attire for the night. It turned out to be a great night for both of them and everyone at the school.
Senior Zane Wales and junior Anna Anderson are enjoying their new titles of the school thanks to their classmates! The full story is below and on @ABC13News https://t.co/CbOH09tjEI https://t.co/ahptlIAaC3 pic.twitter.com/PIhHfX1OWy— Madison Doner (@MadisonDoner) April 29, 2022
A video of the pair walking up the stairs after being crowned prom king and queen has gone viral. The video shows students cheering them on as they walk up the stairs. "Love these kids it's so awesome to see the love that the whole school give we need this more showing love and care," wrote one person. "So beautiful, What an unforgettable evening. So warm hearted and love," wrote another. Lot of them shared their own stories as well. "We did that in my town. Two of my students were chosen. I can't tell you how cool they were. Awesome," commented one person. "Love seeing this! My downs daughter was prom Queen over 10 years ago," wrote another.
According to the Mayo Clinic, infants with Down syndrome may be of ordinary size, but they often develop slowly and remain shorter than other children of their age. Their speech development is affected and some people may have short-term or long-term memory loss. They experience intellectual and developmental abilities in a unique manner to each individual. "Down syndrome occurs when an individual has an extra partial (or whole) copy of chromosome 21," according to the United Nations.