There wasn’t a dry eye in the stands at Friday evening’s Caldwell vs. Bishop Rosencrans game.   

During the evening’s event, members of the Caldwell High School Homecoming Court each received a wrapped rose to determine who would be crowned Queen.

This made it a surprise as to who would win, but the crowd was in for an even bigger surprise after the roses were unwrapped.

Laken Figel received the winning red rose, but did not accept the crown. She said she knew what she would do if she opened the winning red rose.

Instead, Laken passed along the crown to her classmate and one of her best friends since third grade, Jenna Porter, who has Downs Syndrome.

“Jenna has been a true blessing this class. She has given her classmates eyes to see the importance of the gift of compassion toward those who are a bit different from the ‘norm,’ and a whole lot of joy and smiles through the years. The girls’ enormous genuine smiles and pure joy (with no thought to those watching them) was simply beautiful,” said Amy Figel.

Jenna said the crowd clapped and cried as she was crowned homecoming queen. Laken said it was extremely emotional for her to make sure Jenna got to live out a high school girl’s dream. She said she did it for Jenna, not for any recognition.

Jenna’s classmates were equally as excited, with only about 50 people in the graduating class, they have always been together and have been supportive of Jenna. Jenna affectionately calls Laken her “sweetheart best friend.”

She said homecoming weekend was the best ever. She wore her crown and a red dress to the dance, and spun around on the dance floor with Jack, the homecoming king, all evening.

Laken said she wishes there were more people like Jenna in the world. She hopes to go to college to pursue a career working with people with down syndrome. 

All weekend, people in Caldwell have been congratulating Jenna and telling her she looks beautiful in her crown, which makes her smile from ear to ear.

“I feel really special,” she said.