Meet Maddie Ray: WAVE Country’s newest homecoming queen

Meet Maddie Ray: WAVE Country’s newest homecoming queen
Published: Oct. 1, 2016 at 2:47 AM EDT
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Michael and Elizabeth Ray (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Michael and Elizabeth Ray (Source: WAVE 3 News)

CRESTWOOD, KY (WAVE) - At Salon 146 in Crestwood, Jennifer Richardson tells her 17-year-old client what she's planning to do with her hair.

"We're going to put just a little bit of spry in here OK," she said.

Friday was homecoming night for South Oldham High School, and Maddie Ray's hair has to be just right.

"It's going to be beautiful," Richardson told her.

"She got her nails done the other night and getting her hair done today," Maddie's mother, Elizabeth Ray, said while watching.

Maddie is a senior who doesn't let Down syndrome slow her down. She was hoping to become the school's homecoming queen.

"Just holding back tears at every moment," her mother said.

The fancy up-do got a huge smile from Maddie, but the pampering wasn't over, it was off to a friend's house to get her makeup done.

"You look so pretty," a long-time friend, Cailyn Mckenna, whispered to Maddie.

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"Sometimes when I would babysit Maddie we would do this together, so just something I really enjoyed 'cuz, she has her big day today," Mckenna said.

"Awe! Maddie, you look good!" They cheered when she stepped out, all done up in a perfect pink and black dress.

With her sister snapping pictures away, it was finally time to head to the game.

"I think she finally knows what's going on," Ray said.

With a smile, her escort and the marching band, Maddie made her way to the field as the commentator announced her name.

This was it. An overwhelmed mom and dad and a crowd who couldn't be prouder cheered like crazy.

"The 2016 football homecoming queen…Maddie Ray," came over the loud speakers.

"That little crown on her head," her father, Michael Ray, cried.

"Oh I don't even know what she's feeling right now," her mother said. 

Maddie is 90 percent non-verbal, meaning she almost never speaks.

"You can't even put into words," Michael Ray said. "I mean when you see where she's come in 17 years."

"She's never told me she loves me, but I see it every time she smiles at me," he continued.

"To listen to everyone chant her name and scream and yell for her it was more than I could even expect, ever," her mother said. "I mean it was really great."

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