Nataleigh Deal is a 19-year-old girl who suffers from Down Syndrome and epilepsy.
Her winning personality made her one of several young ladies to be nominated to serve as homecoming queen. Nataleigh attends Strom Thurman High School in Johnston, South Carolina.
But a doctor advised her and her mother, Carleigh Deal, that she couldn’t wear high heels because her body wasn’t stable.
“At that moment when I found out I couldn’t wear heels, I didn’t feel too good,” Nataleigh told WJBF.
When her special needs teacher, Miesha Gordon, heard the news, she reached out to the other homecoming candidates.
The thoughtful young women decided if Nataleigh couldn’t wear her shoes, they wouldn’t wear theirs either.
“My first thoughts about walking across barefoot were, ‘Of course, I’ll do it!’ Not only because my heels were hurting my feet, but mainly to make Nataleigh feel better,” fellow homecoming court candidate Lillian Mann said.
The magical evening reached a climax when Nataleigh was crowned homecoming queen. The whole stadium erupted with cheers as the young girl collected her crown.
Brave Nataleigh accepted her title despite feeling unwell on the night.
“I heard [them] saying my name and [then] I became Homecoming Queen,” Nataleigh said. “I was feeling much better.”
Natalie’s mother was elated by the way the community rallied around her daughter.
“The inclusion and love will never be matched,” she wrote on Facebook. “We will always be a rebel family.”
Strom Thurman High School in Johnston, South Carolina – home of the rebels – is a town about 26 miles east of the southern state’s western border with Georgia.