PARKVILLE, Mo. -- One of Park Hill South's most popular girls is now sporting a head full of bling.
Alyssa Brubeck, 19, is a trailblazer for the Panthers. She also has Down Syndrome,
But Brubeck hasn't let that, or anything else, get in the way of her achievements. Under the Friday night lights and in front of a rambunctious crowd, the proud Park Hill South Senior paraded to the middle of the field last Friday night.
"It was a lot of emotion," says Brubeck's mother Cindy Small. "Everybody was chanting, Allyssa! Allyssa,"!she said
Brubeck, draped in her purple dress, in support of her school, was one of a handful of girls vying for the title of homecoming queen. As the voice on the PA system announces the winner --
"You're 2012 homecoming queen is.... Allyssa Brugen."
Brubeck jumped up and down.
"I was excited, happy," said Brubeck.
"She was just thrilled and everyone started crying. And the cheerleaders, her friends were in the front row and they were crying and it was just amazing. Amazing," said Small.
Brubeck was both nominated and chosen by her peers. When watching her, it's easy to see why the senior is so special to everyone she meets.
"Because I see all of my friends at lunch. And I say hi to them," said Brubeck.
"Everybody welcomes her and just um embraces her and she gets involved and encourages the other kids," said Small.
Brubeck said winning the title was a great moment but perhaps what is most memorable is the lessons Brubeck and her Down Syndrome are teaching.
"This school gives the opportunity to have differences and accept you for who you are. I think Allyssa just fits in and the kids are accepting," said Small.
Brubeck is not only the first girl with down syndrome at Park Hill South High School to win homecoming queen. She is also the first girl with Down Syndrome to make the varsity cheerleading squad.