Local News

Eighth grader with Down syndrome voted homecoming queen

Posted November 9, 2018 9:00 a.m. EST
Updated November 9, 2018 1:49 p.m. EST

— Erika Shelton, an eighth grader with Down syndrome, was honored by her Dunn Middle School classmates when they elected her to be homecoming queen Wednesday afternoon.

Shelton’s mother, Laura Burdette, said that Shelton was stunned when her victory was announced at the homecoming football game. She was selected by her peers over nine other candidates.

Shelton is well known at her middle school and elementary school. According to Burdette, Shelton's teachers from both schools came to the game to support her and celebrate her victory.

"I love Erika and I feel that Dunn Middle School loves her too, and for that, I am more than grateful," Burdette said.

Burdette believes her daughter’s win is a triumph for all people with special needs.

"I think it is a huge step in the right direction for all people with special needs as inclusion is one of the first steps," she said. "The fact that everyone opened their hearts to the idea of someone not mainstream as the person to represent the school is amazing. It was one thing to be nominated, but to actually win is beyond words."

Shelton will also be featured in the Dunn Christmas parade on Dec.1.