Student with special needs elected Homecoming King at South Meck

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A South Mecklenburg teen with autism is feeling the love from his fellow classmates after they chose him to be Homecoming King.

Blake Rice, 19, is now royalty in the halls of South Mecklenburg High School. Students nominated Rice and last week during an assembly he had earned the most votes. His name was called.

“I feel like he won because everyone loves him,” explained Essence Pauling who won Homecoming Queen.

When the announcement was made the gym erupted in cheers and celebrated Blake. He started dancing. He was so excited the crown fell off of his head.

“When I got to crown him I was thrilled. I was so happy our school picked him,” said Pauling.

Mr. Rice was also in the gym that day. He teaches biology at the school but his favorite job is being Blake’s dad.

“They didn’t chose the richest, hottest or the smartest but they picked the most vulnerable guy and celebrated him,” said Matthew Rice.

Mr. Rice told a group of students that he was proud of them because they made it possible for Blake to win.

The celebration continues as Blake is still wearing his crown a few days after the assembly.

When asked how the crown makes him feel. Blake replied, “charming.”

“I was like wow our school is amazing and people do the right thing. They don’t just leave people out to make them feel like an outcast,” said Pauling.

“I think often when we think about teens we think about negative stereotypes. I work with amazing kids who make great choices all the time,” said Rice.