Moments after being crowned May 2 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, Joe Malone and Lauren Anderson, both seniors at Blue Springs High School gave up their crowns to Whitney Bowlin and Brent Roberts, two students in the specialized instruction program at the high school.
Whitney Bowlin and Brent Roberts could not contain their excitement as they watched two of their classmates, Joe Malone and Lauren Anderson, crowned Blue Springs High School Prom King and Queen.
But what happened next surprised everyone.
“I just felt like they (Bowlin and Roberts) were far more deserving of the crown than me,” Malone said of giving up his crown to Roberts. “They are just so special. They are awesome people.”
Moments after being crowned May 2 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, Malone and Anderson, both seniors at Blue Springs High School, gave up their crowns to Bowlin and Roberts, two students in the specialized instruction program at the high school.
Anderson said she thought it was a great idea.
“I thought it was cool for us to do that,” she said. “It will mean so much more to them than it does to either of us.”
Bowlin, who graduated from Blue Springs High School May 24, said she was so excited to receive the crown, which is now sitting in her bedroom.
“It is awesome being prom queen,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. I could hardly breathe.”
Malone came up with the idea earlier this year after working as a volunteer with the Special Olympics program. Bowlin and Roberts were chosen because, he said, they best represented what it was to be a Wildcat, always with a smile on their face and a positive attitude.
“Originally, I wanted to see if they could crown a second prom king and queen for the special education students,” he said. “But when that didn’t work out, I decided on this plan and talked to the rest of the candidates.”
Mark Haley, special education teacher at Blue Springs High School, said neither Bowlin or Roberts had any idea what was going to happen. He said they were thrilled.
“I thought it was incredible,” he said.
“Joe and Lauren did this because they wanted to. Most people probably don’t remember who was voted their class prom king and queen. But everyone associated with this story will remember this forever.”
Terri Bowlin, Whitney’s mother, said it was emotional for her when she learned of the gesture. She said it shows her that there are still good people in this world.
“I think it just brought back a belief in people,” she said. “All you hear it seems like is the bad, and to have two seniors do this for two students with special needs is unbelievable. This is something that they would have never been able to have. It opened my eyes to see that there is still good people out there.”
Malone, who plans to attend Park University next fall, said coaching in Special Olympics has given him a “whole new perspective on life.” He said there was never a question in his mind that he wanted to do this for Bowlin and Roberts.
“I think people are surprised because kids don’t really do stuff like this,” he said. “I thought it was cool and would do it a million times over again. No one saw it coming.”
Anderson, who will be attending Southwest Baptist University next year, said it made her feel good to see Bowlin so happy.
“This was the best part of my senior year,” she said. “Making this night special for them.”
Bowlin still cannot contain her excitement about being the prom queen.
“I just feel so excited,” she said. “I didn’t know it was going to happen. It was pretty special to be the prom queen.”