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Blue Springs Students Give Up Crowns to SOMO Athletes
Prom can easily be considered one of the most important nights of a senior’s last year in high school, and what could be more of an honor than ruling this night as prom king or queen? For most high schools, the race for prom king and queen takes the form of a popularity contest with weeks of anticipation for who will be named prom royalty. However, this year, on May 2 at Blue Springs High School, the prom king and queen stepped away from their thrones to give their crowns to a duo they felt were more deserving. The prom king and queen, Joe Malone and Lauren Anderson, gave up their crowns to two special education students at Blue Springs High School, Whitney Bowlin and Brent Roberts.
Joe, a graduating senior of Blue Springs High School, came up with the idea to give up his crown. “Over Christmas break I kind of went through a maturing process… popularity mattered a lot to me before, but during this time I got closer to God and realized what is really important.” Joe’s initial thought was to have a separate prom king and queen for the special education kids, some of whom he got to know by coaching a Special Olympics flag football team, but Joe’s idea was turned down by the school. So as prom neared, Joe instead decided that if he won he would give up his crown to a special education student.
When the ballots for the king and queen were tallied, Joe Malone and Lauren Anderson were found to be Blue Springs High School’s 2009 prom king and queen. Joe had already told Lauren about his plan to give up his crown, and Lauren thought it was a really cool idea and was excited to be a part of it. The duo chose two senior special education students, Whitney Bowlin and Brent Roberts, who had big hearts and a lot of Wildcat pride. They are two people whom Joe described as “always happy and always so good.”
Their prom was held at Westin Crown Center in Kansas City May 2, and Whitney and Brent arrived there clueless of their destined royalty. Whitney brought her grandpa along as her prom date, and Brent arrived solo. After Joe and Lauren were announced king and queen, they took the stage and announced that they were giving their crowns to two more deserving students. This is when Brent and Whitney’s names were announced as the new prom king and queen. When Whitney’s name was announced she ran on stage and began yelling, “I’m the prom queen! I’m the prom queen!” Brent, who cannot speak, simply smiled big and gave Joe a “classic Brent” -- two pats on the shoulder and a light slap on the cheek.
The news of the new prom king and queen traveled quickly around Kansas City, getting a lot more publicity than anyone involved ever imagined. “We didn’t expect all the publicity,” Joe says. “We just did it because they deserved it … but I think it’s nice that people hear something good is happening, when there is so much negative out in the world being covered by the media.”
Whitney’s mom was touched by the thoughtfulness these two seniors showed to her daughter and Brent. “It’s neat to know there are kids out there that still have that kind of heart … to me, it’s just like a storybook.”
The 2009 prom will not soon be forgotten at Blue Springs High School or even in the Kansas City area for that matter. “Life is about making impacts and making people a little bit happier,” Joe says. “If I were to die today, it’s good to know that Lauren and I made an impact in their lives.”
Being prom queen means more to Whitney than could be imagined. “It’s just awesome being the prom queen,” she says. “I will always be the prom queen.”
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Joe Malone and Lauren Anderson, graduating seniors at Blue Springs High School, gave their Prom King and Queen crowns to Brent Roberts and Whitney Bowlin, two senior special education students.
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