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Special Olympics athlete named Garner-Hayfield-Ventura homecoming queen

Globe Gazette - 9/19/2017

This past week has been busy for Kelsey Grimm.

Last Friday, she was nominated by Garner-Hayfield-Ventura juniors and seniors to the school's homecoming court. Yesterday, she found out the entire student body had selected her to be homecoming queen.

"They put (the tiara) on top of her head, and Kelsey just had the biggest smile," said Tenisha Sue Benson, Kelsey's mom. "It just breaks my heart how proud she is."

Benson said Kelsey, a senior, was honored at halftime of Friday night's football game against Forest City, after attending several school pep rallies since last Friday. She added that when her daughter was initially nominated, it was difficult to keep her emotions.

"I just was in tears of being so proud," Benson said. "Kelsey asked, 'Why are you crying? and I said, 'I'm just so proud of you," and she said, 'I'm proud, too!'"

Jim Haag, GHV's high school principal, said Kelsey's positive attitude in school is noticed by her peers.

"She's kind of a magnet," Haag said. "Kids just attract to her."

Kristen Schmidt, one of Kelsey's teachers, said she has been working with her since she was in eighth grade. Schmidt added that the community support for her has been abundant.

"They see her for her strengths, they don't see her weaknesses," Schmidt said. "They just embrace her and always support her."

Kelsey's interests in school range from cooking to vocal classes to math and reading, according to Schmidt. Benson said her daughter has also participated in several extracurricular activities, ranging from the school choir to cheerleading, and competing in the Special Olympics all four years of high school.

Both Schmidt and Benson noted Kelsey's growth in confidence since she started at the high school, which was on full display this past week.

"She's been saying she always wanted to be a queen," Schmidt said.

Benson credited the school and community for helping Kelsey open up socially since she started high school.

"She'd cover her eyes at the start of high school," she said. "And now, she's to the point where she's out in front of the entire student body, getting them pumped up for the football team."


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