VALPARAISO | Angela Darrol has dreamed of being in her high school homecoming court for years. And she's not alone.
Thanks to her classmates, Angela, a special education student at Valparaiso High School, will join Kelli Keough, Maria Yallourakis, Kathy Minko, Alexandra Shideler and Greer Brown in representing the school during homecoming week beginning Monday.
Despite their different paths through high school, Angela, like several of her classmates on the court, share a dream of becoming homecoming queen.
"I would like to be queen. That would be great," said Angela, 19, who has Down syndrome and a heart condition.
Angela's mother, Brenda Darrol, said it's been a good experience for her daughter.
"This has been a dream of hers for a couple of years," said Darrol. "The peer tutors rallied around her and put things on Twitter and Facebook and made this happen for her. I just think it's wonderful."
Brenda Darrol said her daughter is delighted to be part of this group, but if another girl wins, that is OK.
"I'm excited to be going to the pep rally, the game and then the dance on Saturday," Angela said.
Brenda Darrol said she never thought this would happen to her daughter.
"She is very social and really outgoing and just thinks the best of everybody," she said. "This says so much for the school and student body that they picked Angela."
The other girls are also happy to be part of the homecoming activities and to have Angela as part of the court.
Keough is excited to experience this day with her.
"My sister was in the court and now my dad can experience it with me," Keough said. "I'm so glad to be part of this group ... all great kids, and everyone has a kind heart."
Shideler is carrying on a family tradition, following in her mother's footsteps, who was homecoming queen.
"I'm excited about keeping the tradition and being part of the court," she said.
As for Angela, "I think this is so great for her," Shideler said. "This is a good group of girls."
Yallourakis said she is glad that Angela is part of the court.
"This is amazing for Angela and it says a lot about the school and the students," said Yallourakis.
Minko likes being with a "great group of girls."
"My grandma was homecoming queen so this is really great," said Minko.
Brown best summed up what all the girls were feeling.
"It's a big honor to be part of this group," she said. "This is just awesome to think our peers think highly of us, and somehow we've each made an impact. And to include Angela is just awesome."
There will be a pep rally and the public can take part in it at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Central Park Plaza on Lincolnway at Lafayette Street. Sponsored by the Valparaiso High School Student Council, the pep rally will honor all fall and winter sports and clubs.