Whitney Kropp, a student at a small Michigan farm-town high school, a “free spirit with few friends”, was surprised and elated to learn she had been voted to the Homecoming Court at her school.
For overseas readers: Homecoming Weekend, in the early fall, is a popular event at many high schools. Alumni are in the area for class reunions, and go to the football game that weekend for a little nostalgia. The high school holds a vote and a Homecoming “Queen” is crowned (in my school the winner was announced at the Homecoming Dance). The runners up form her Court. They, with the popular male students they choose to accompany them, are feted in a parade through town and a procession onto the football field on game day. Much applause, photos for the yearbook, and then the entire thing is forgotten, but for one week it is a Very Big Deal.
But this was a bit more than a Big Deal for Whitney, because she soon learned she had been the butt of a very cruel joke by a group of her classmates. Do you remember “Carrie”, the Stephen King novel/ movie about the shy, abused outsider who is chosen as Prom Queen for a laugh?
Word got around, and then something magical and beautiful happened. The entire town rallied around Whitney. Local business donated their services to get her set for the Homecoming game — dress, shoes, nails, dinner, photos. She is going to go into this weekend with several thousand people supporting her, watching her back, and cheering her on. Not because they are in on the joke, but because they all remember their own high school traumas, and will not simply look on as it happens again.
A public Facebook page has been created to show your support and take a stand against bullying. When an article appeared in the Detroit News (see link above), the page had 3,500 “Likes”, more than the population of Whitney’s home town. This morning it has well over 33,000 “Likes”, from all corners of the globe. Please add yours!