Wilmington student with special needs named prom king

Updated: May. 13, 2019 at 5:52 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Prom nights are special for many students, and memories are often saved in pictures they’ll look at years later.

One senior at Ashley High School has those pictures to remember the night, but his own memories may serve him even better.

Nic Cox has Down syndrome, but to his classmates, that didn’t matter. They voted him prom king Saturday night at Ashley.

Cox was a little shy about his big win, so his mom talked Monday about his new title.

“Twenty years ago when I learned when Nic had Down syndrome, I lived in fear at the beginning of how my child would be accepted," Jeannie Mayes said. “Would he be included? How would people treat him?

“Today, I don’t even worry about that. I think people are seeing that our kids are just like anybody else and they have a lot to offer to the world and it clearly shows here at Ashley how the student body voted him to be prom king.”

Walking through the halls at Ashley, Cox — who is on the track team and in the orchestra program — couldn’t go more than a few feet without someone giving him a high five.

Jocelyn Savard, Cox’s date, said she asked him to prom because he had never been in his five years at Ashley.

“He got the chance to be a typically developing high-schooler and he was able to see all of his friends and hang out with them," Savard said. “The whole night people were coming up to him and saying, ‘Hey Nic, so glad you could make it.’ So, I think it was one last chance for him to be with his friends before he graduates.”

Cox’s teacher, Kristen Strickland, along with a few other teachers and students, nominated him for prom king. Students at prom then cast enough votes for him to win.

“One of my main goals as a teacher is for my students to be loved and accepted and included within their high school environment," Strickland said. “I think that’s so important, and the student body here at Ashley has done just that and is amazing.”

Cox’s mom said he brings his new crown and sash everywhere he goes, including church, work and to school.

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