Two Florida teens with Down syndrome are feeling like royalty after becoming homecoming king and queen. Semone Adkins and Travjuan “Bubba” Hunter waved to fans and supporters as they were driven onto the football field at West Orange High School in a black Maserati and red Ferrari.
Hunter worked the crowd with big smiles and shouts, but Adkins stayed prim, proper and regal — like the queen she felt like inside.
The teenagers were selected last Friday out of a senior class of more than 800 people. They’re the first special needs students in Orange County, Fla., to hold the titles usually reserved for popular athletes and cheerleaders.
“This didn’t happen because we feel sorry for them or something,” fellow contender for the crown Hayden Griffitts told the Orlando Sentinel. “Just the opposite. They really deserve it. I mean, homecoming is about bringing people together and having fun. And that’s what they do.”
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The teens are neighbors who have known each other their entire lives. Hunter has become a fixture at his school, cracking jokes and challenging students and administrators to lunchtime arm wrestling matches.
“It just started one day last year during baseball season,” classmate Tyler Hartman said. “Bubba and I talk every day now. He just makes everyone’s mood better because he’s a fun guy.”
Hunter and Adkins were among 12 seniors nominated for the crown. Earlier this month, they participated in a talent contest that pit the potential royal court against each other.
Adkins, usually quite shy, turned into quite the diva with an enthusiastic rendition of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” Near the end of the performance, Hunter walked onto the stage, dropped to one knee, and put a ring on it.