HOWLAND - Howland siblings Jessica and John Prokup Jr. were elected prom King and Queen at the Howland High School prom held May 2 at Packard Music Hall.
It might be the first time in school history a brother and sister shared the crown, and it also might be the first time a disabled student won.
John Prokup, 19, has Down Syndrome but is active at the school playing soccer, and baseball in special needs leagues. He also runs the 100-meter dash on the Howland track team. His younger sister, Jessica, 18, is vice president of the National Honor Society, plays soccer and is on the track team. It was Jessica who started the campaign to get her brother nominated for prom court, but she said it didn't take much to convince other students to vote for him.
Members of the 2009 Howland High School prom court that reigned over Saturday’s prom at Packard Music Hall are, front row, from left, Nick Santucci, Elana Maksimoff, Brittany Fleming and Dante Marsh. Standing in the back row, from left, are Stephanie Wisniewski, Clay Cooper, John Prokup (king), Jessica Prokup (queen), Tyler Scott and Ana Sofia Garcia.
When the announcement was made during the event, the other students swarmed around John wanting to congratulate him.
Both children will graduate this year.
Jessica plans to attend The Ohio State University to study molecular genetics. John will work two more years through the school-work program and then volunteer at Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital.
Prior to prom night, Jessica and a group of her friends made T-shirts with her brother's picture with the slogan "Vote for John Prokup." On the back, the shirts read "John 4 Prom King."
Their mother, Julie, said part of the reason John is so popular is because he has been in regular classes since kindergarten with the help of his educational assistant, Susie Ross.
''He has grown up with all these kids. When they were younger, the kids would brag about his accomplishments and say stuff like 'Mrs. Prokup, Johnny can read.' They always make him feel good about himself,'' she said.