Friday night, under the bright lights of the Francis Howell North football field, our team was losing, but one special young man won big. The senior class, which numbers near 500 in a school of near 2000, had overwhelmingly elected Cody Fingers as Homecoming King. Earlier that day, during a pep assembly, the gymnasium burst out in a chant when he was announced as a member of court. With ear plugs in his ears, he waved and took it all in stride. Cody knows that these are his peers, his friends, but what he didn’t understand, is that these kids are also his biggest fans. Many have been with him since kindergarten, and they’ve seen the best and worst of him. No matter what, they’ve been there for him. They’ve gathered around to hear him ‘sing’ his Elvis songs and beat out his tunes on his guitar. They’ve watched him challenge his peers and teachers in a basketball shoot-off, with the competition coming down to the gym teacher and Cody. These kids are the future who respect differences and encourage success no matter how that success is defined. The next night at the Homecoming dance, the Court was once again announced. Again, the gym filled with nearly 1200 sweaty excited kids, burst out in cheers and chants as Cody was announced. The smiles on his face and those of his peers on court told the whole story again. As the dance wound down, the DJ played “All Shook Up,” a song by The King, for the king. The kids in the gym were on the move. This was the perfect time for them to go get drinks, food or cool off in the hallway, but no, they ran to gather around Cody. As the circle got thicker with kids, Cody was the center of attention as he broke out his best Elvis moves. The audience cheered him on. There were cell phones lighting his way as they took video of his dance. As the song came to an end, the audience cheered and applauded; Cody took a bow. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, twelve hundred voices broke out in a chant of Cody...Cody… Cody… for several seconds. I’ve had many prideful moments as both a teacher and a mom, but this is one of the best. I chaperoned the dance that night just as I have several others, but this one goes down as the best. These kids fulfilled a dream that I didn’t even think I could have.