Brendan Ritchie is a good student. He’s also an athlete and a member of the cross-country team at his school. But most importantly, he’s an amazing friend. When deciding who to bring to prom, he wasn’t basing his choice on who was the most popular. He based it on something a whole lot more genuine – friendship.
That’s how a prom that will never be forgotten came to be.
A group of friends
Several students at the Fort Zumwalt West High School have been spending their lunchtime together at the same table for the past few years. They’re just a happy mix of kids who have grown to like each other over those years. Among them is Ellie McCool.
Ellie was born with a severe rare brain disorder called Rett syndrome that only affects girls. Her mom says that she was like any other toddler until she turned about four years old, then something just changed. Part of her seemed like it had simply shut down.
Mickie McCool knew her same bright and happy daughter was in there, but the disability made it more difficult for Ellie to express herself, especially verbally.
A part of the group
That never stopped the group of friends at school from including Ellie. Her best friend, Nicole Olf, says that despite her not speaking, Ellie is bright, friendly, and caring. She always seems to have a positive attitude and a smile on her face. Who wouldn’t want someone with those qualities at their lunch table? Who wouldn’t want them as a friend?
A date to the prom
It only made sense to offer Ellie the same kindness and caring that she had shown to them over the years. That is what made Brendan’s choice so easy. He knew exactly who he needed to invite to the prom.
Brendan was aware that Ellie’s favorite movie was Iron Man, so he decided to dress up as Iron Man, complete with the mask and a sign, and ask Ellie to the prom in front of the entire cafeteria.
Everyone loved it, including Ellie.
Of course, she agreed to go to the prom with him. Just about every girl dreams about going to the prom, and Ellie was no exception. That she would get to have this moment was incredible. Her mom was happy for her and her friends were happy for her; everyone was blown away by the invitation to the prom.
They all knew that she deserved this special moment in her life, this memory that would last a lifetime.
By prom night, Ellie was fully prepared. She was dressed for the occasion and ready to go when Brendan arrived.
Their friends from the lunch table were all there for prom night as well. They spent the evening together, took pictures, danced, and made the most of a shared and wonderful moment that would become a memorable part of their high school experience for this amazing group of teens.
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