SOUTH HAVEN, Mich.– A life-changing moment in the life of one West Michigan girl with special needs; 19-year-old Hannah Soderquist, who has Down Syndrome, was crowned homecoming queen last Friday at South Haven High School.
It’s something that has not only impacted Hannah’s life but the community as a whole. When we visited Hannah at school it was obvious why she won. Walking through the halls she stops and says hi to everyone while giving them a high-five. Hannah’s mom says she truly cares about the kids and people in general.
Her teacher Aaaron Tennant says he has learned so much from her.
“She has taught me so much about what it is laugh and to love and express all those emotions so well.”
Hannah’s life hasn’t been easy by any means; she was born with a hole in her heart and has had to several surgeries. “People tell you they can’t do this, they won’t do this, probably won’t do that and then they say that she probably won’t walk or talk and I’m laughing now because that’s not what God had planned,” said Julie.
When Hanna’s name was called she beamed from ear to ear as her name was announced. Students at school say it was no sympathy vote, she earned every single one. Hannah’s friends all say the same thing about her. “Shes so funny, she’s always happy she just lightens up everyone’s day,” said homecoming king Tony Canonie.
“Hannah has been a crazy influence on me. I mean, just my interaction with other people I feel more inclined to love other people the way she loves them,” said her friend Ian Everitt.
Her mom says the students at South Haven are true leaders, seeing past a disability and just loving Hannah for who she is.
“I just thank God for her and what he’s done through her. I am so proud of everything she’s done. It amazes me, and I expect her to do more,” she said.
This isn’t the first time students at South Haven have come together like this. Last year the homecoming king who won actually passed his crown to a special need student who was nominated.
As for Hannah, she will continue going to school once she graduates. She says her real dream is to be a singer and someday meet Katy Perry.