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Special Needs Oregon Student Wins Prom Queen Crown in Landslide

Katie Shipley was born with a rare chromosome disorder and has a form of dementia — she wasn't even supposed to live to see her 18th birthday.

When a special needs student at an Oregon high school expressed to her friends that she wanted to be nominated for prom queen, they rallied to get her name on the ballot — and the students of the school did her one better and voted in overwhelming numbers to have her crowned on the big night.

Katie Shipley was born with a rare chromosome disorder and has a form of dementia, according to NBC affiliate KGW. She wasn't even supposed to make it to her 18th birthday, let alone to her prom and graduation at Southridge High School in Beaverton, according to the station.

Shipley's friends campaigned to get her nominated for prom queen and recorded her reaction when they surprised her with the news.

"I wanted to be nominated," Shipley said, but little did she know, there was another surprise in store.

On prom night Saturday, Shipley stood on stage in her gold and purple beaded cocktail dress with the five other girls nominated for prom princess and the six boys nominated for prom prince. "I was waiting," she said.

As she anxiously awaited the prom queen's name to be called, students began chanting her name. "They were shouting out my name. 'Katie Katie Katie!'," she said.

And then her name also came over the loudspeaker. "The 2015 queen is … Katie!"

"She’ll remember it forever,” said Taylor Chapman, a friend who helped get Shipley nominated.

"This shows them that you’re just like everybody else. You are beautiful, you are precious, God loves you just the way he made you — and shine,” said Shipley's grandmother Joan Fraley.

Shipley certainly got to shine Saturday night, and besides prom queen bragging rights, she has one more thing to boast about: With more than 200 votes, she received the most votes of any prom court member in Southridge High School's history.


— Elisha Fieldstadt