Area high school student has fairy tale prom night - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Area high school student has fairy tale prom night


Eau Claire (WQOW) - For hundreds of high school students across the Chippewa Valley, Saturday is prom night. For most, the night will be one they remember forever. For one Menomonie High School Junior, it could almost be called a royal occasion.

"Charlie is really a good kid, he's a great guy that people respect in our school and everybody knows Charlie," says Audric Buhr, a Vocal Teacher at Menomonie High School.

18-year-old Charlie Gainey is a junior at Menomonie High School, and a nominee of the prom court.  He says, "I'm so excited to be nominated." Charlie has Down Syndrome.

Buhr says, "Students don't look at Charlie as a different person, they just look at him as one of their class."

"I think sometimes people with disabilities can get left out and this just shows that his class thinks of him as another student and doesn't single him out for his disabilities or anything," says  Danielle Hooper, a Junior at UW-Stout, and the holder of the Miss Minnesota USA title. 

Just recently, she heard Charlie's story. "I work in the financial aid office, just part time at Stout, and one of the ladies who works there with me knows Charlie's family. She heard he got nominated to his prom court so she kind of thought of the idea that maybe I could go with him," says Hooper.    

On Friday, Charlie met his prom date for the first time. He says, "I think she's so special, she has a great smile, she has a great laugh,"

Hooper says, "We didn't have a prom court at my high school, we had a homecoming court but I wasn't nominated I was really shy in high school."

Win or not, Charlie's Junior Prom will be a fairy tale all on its own. "It doesn't matter if I'm the king or not, all that matters is the dancing and having a great time," says Charlie.

Saturday night Charlie was named prom king by his peers!

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