Tears flowed as Lindsey Miller clutched a bouquet of yellow roses and repeatedly thanked the cheering crowd at Fossil Ridge High School’s homecoming game.
But the newly crowned queen wasn’t the only one crying.
Shelby Bowden, another senior in the homecoming court, was in tears, too. Not because she lost, but because her longtime friend won.
“She really does deserve it,” Bowden said. “Kids were saying, ‘Vote for Lindsey,’ but a lot of people have never taken the time to get to know her and talk to her. She’s really a big sweetheart.”
Miller, a special needs student, was crowned at halftime of Fossil Ridge’s game against Richland on Thurday at the Keller ISD Athletic Complex. Flanked by homecoming king Nick Foster, she soaked in the moment as her classmates saluted her.
Back at school Friday, Miller declared, “I wanted Shelby to win,” and insisted that her longtime friend wear the sparkling tiara for a while.
Miller and Bowden have been friends since middle school, where Miller was named an honorary member of the cheerleading squad.
That friendship carried over to Fossil Ridge, where Bowden and fellow cheerleader Nikki Dinh led the effort to get Miller elected with a social media campaign on Twitter and Instagram.
“To us, it’s just getting a crown, but to her, it means the whole world,” Dinh said. “Giving it to someone who really wants it and deserves it means so much.”
The effort was not lost on Miller’s mother, Angela Loftin.
“They talk about teenagers being rude and disrespectful and how we’ve lost control of our kids. It’s not true,” Loftin said. “They have shown my daughter true respect.”
Besides the social media efforts, senior Mikayla Schmidt helped make “Team Lindsey” T-shirts, and she and her sister Katrina crafted mums for Miller and all the other students in the special needs life skills class.
“We wanted to make sure everyone got one,” Schmidt said.
Life skills teacher Deanna Spillyards said the acts of kindness were contagious. One girl in the class who already had a mum decided to give her second one to a another student.
“The whole spirit of the school is very giving and loving,” Spillyards said.
Said Schmidt: “It’s a night we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.”