That Katie Shipley made it to her senior year of high school is accomplishment enough. She was born with a rare chromosome disorder and dementia, and wasn’t expected to make it to her 18th birthday. But Katie did and had bigger plans: She wanted to become prom queen.
When Katie’s friends at Southridge High School in Beaverton, Ore. heard about her wish, they set about making it a reality and secretly campaigned on her behalf to get her a prom court nomination. When they did, they surprised her with the good news:
“I’m very happy,” she says in the video. “I’m really happy.”
Come prom night, Katie waited onstage with her fellow princes and princesses to find out who would be crowned king and queen. "They were shouting out my name,” Katie told KGW. “'Katie Katie Katie!'”
Watch the moment Katie finds out she won prom queen:
She didn’t just win, either. It was a complete landslide: "I had the most votes in school, in the whole world,” Katie laughed. It’s true: She had over 200 votes, the most for any candidate in Southridge history. "They made me feel happy."
"It’s wonderful,” Katie’s grandma, Joan Fraley, says. “This shows [students like Katie] that you're just like everybody else. You are beautiful, you are precious, God loves you just the way he made you -- and shine.”
Fraley says now that Katie has the title, she’s not letting anyone forget it. "My sister called her princess Katie and she turned around and said, 'I am not a princess, I am a queen,'” Joan says. “That is a mistake we will try not to make again.”
Meanwhile, Katie wrote a touching letter to her fellow students to thank them:
“I never imagined that my dream of being a prom queen would ever come true,” it says. “Thank you my dearest senior class for voting for me, as South Ridge High School Prom Queen 2015. Dreams do come true. I love you all, Queen Katie Shipley.”
Now, check out The Big Bang Theory cast’s old high school prom photos: