For one night, Alex Lynch wasn't special needs.
He was just special.
He was prom king.
Lynch, a senior GHS special needs student who suffers from twin to twin transfusion syndrome and is confined to a wheelchair, was named the 2014 Gretna High School prom king after winning the popular vote handily.
Twin to twin transfusion syndrome has effects similar to cerebral palsy. Lynch came to Gretna Public Schools in fourth grade and has been on track to graduate with the class of 2014 ever since.
Special education teacher Amanda Siemers works with Lynch every day at the high school.
“Alex was all smiles after winning,” she said. “He was just really excited. I think the exciting reaction was all the other students when they found out he won. Their screaming didn't stop for minutes. I thought that was very cool as well.”
Lynch has been active in the band and marching band throughout his high school career. He's also attended some regular classes with his classmates.
Siemers was moved when she heard Lynch announced as the king.
“It was just heartwarming,” she said. “It was just amazing to me that teenagers would take time to think past themselves and think of another student. I heard one student say this was their chance to help him feel normal and have a normal teenage experience, which was really cool.”
High school principal Roger Miller said it shows the character of the student body at GHS.
“I was excited for Alex and excited for our kids,” he said. “I thought that was a nice honor the kids gave to Alex. It showed our kids cared. I thought it was a nice thing for the kids to do.
“Our kids are a pretty caring group of kids. This isn't the first time, it's happened before and it's kind of neat.”
In 2009, Gretna students elected a special needs student, Taylor Smith, homecoming king.
“I have a lot of faith in our kids,” Miller said. “We've got good kids and I know we've got good kids.
“This was special for Alex and I thought it was kind of neat.”
Lynch was presented the royal accompaniments — crown, cape and scepter — by 2013 homecoming king Mick Stoltenberg, a Gretna tradition. His queen was Lindsey LaMountain, but Siemers said his picture requests and dance card were filled up all night.
“I think he took more pictures than he's ever taken in his entire life,” she said. “Girls kept asking for pictures and dances all night.”
For Lynch, a man of very few words, all he could say is he felt, “Good.” But his smile, grinning from ear to ear, said it all.