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Triton Homecoming Queen Breaks Down Barriers, Wins the Hearts of Classmates

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HARNETT COUNTY — Triton High School in Harnett County has a new homecoming queen. The senior who wears the crown has defied stereotypes, and has won the hearts of her classmates.

It was one of the proudest moments of young Kelly Warren's life. Escorted by her father, Warren was crowned 1999 Homecoming Queen by the student body.

Warren is the first winner with Down Syndrome in the school's history.

"My daughter hasn't done anything other than be herself," says Ronald Warren. "To see them come in and accept her, which is something that didn't happen years ago, that makes a big difference in a father's feelings."

Warren's mother, Vickie, says she will never forget the moment her daughter was crowned.

"All of the sudden I just kind of stopped and watched the crowd, and they were standing up and they were cheering, and it was just amazing. It was just wonderful," she says with pride.

Josh Lee is one of Warren's best friends. He spends a lot of time with her in the school's Big Brother-Big Sister program.

Lee nominated his friend for the Homecoming Court, and was very proud when his classmates overwhelmingly supported his choice.

"I walked over there, and I saw her with the crown on, and I just felt really good," says Lee.

Kelly Warren's friends and teachers say the crown is well-deserved.

"She has become very independent. She's very friendly and outgoing. And just like I said, she's a pleasure to work with," says teacher Dwight Ashley.

As part of her homecoming duties, Kelly Warren will ride in the Dunn and Erwin Christmas parades.


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