News 12 First at Five / Monday, Oct. 29, 2012
EVANS, Ga. -- Being crowned homecoming queen is a big deal for any teenage girl, but for Lakeside High School senior Jessica Giddens, it's a dream come true.
Jessica has Down syndrome but she and her classmates sure aren't letting that hold her back. On Friday night, they crowned Jessica the 2012 Homecoming Queen.
Her reaction was simply, in one word, priceless.
"Your homecoming queen is ... Jessica Giddens!" boomed the announcer at Friday night's game.
Her reaction is what everyone is talking about.
"When they called my name, I said, 'Oh my god. I just can't believe it.' I was like jumping up and down," Jessica said.
Still wearing her crown through the halls, it's a moment Jessica will always remember.
"It was amazing," she explained.
"It's unbelievable. I see the pictures, I watch the video ... and I think about it and I'm just overjoyed," added her mother, Lisa Giddens.
"I was very honored to walk with my daughter across that field, just to hear the crowd scream for her when they announced her name sent a well of emotions up through me," described Retired Col. John Giddens, Jessica's father.
"When I became daddy's little princess, I just turned into this queen," Jessica said.
A queen who always lights up the room.
"Her disabilities don't limit her, and there's so much that she brings and she's full of spirit and she's just awesome to be around," said Jessica's friend Bailey Doss.
And her fellow classmates are her biggest cheerleaders.
"It just fills my heart with joy and laughter and it's just awesome," said Bennett Lemmon of Jessica's reaction.
"Just to see the look on her face, it's just so hard to describe that kind of joy and that kind of happiness," added Arden Mobley, another senior on Homecoming Court.
"Everybody is talking about it, everyone's talking about how everyone was crying," said Colby Ellis, Jessica's escort for Friday's pep rally.
"These kids know that no matter what color you are, no matter what disability you have, you're accepted and it's just such a wonderful thing to see," Mrs. Giddens said.
"It's a testimony of their character, it's a testimony of their love that they have for our daughter and we're so appreciative," Mr. Giddens said.
A living lesson of friendship these students will never forget.
"It means the world to me. This has been a happy day for me. Thank you all. Love you," Jessica said as she blew the camera a kiss.
Jessica's mother says she hasn't taken off the crown since Friday night.