Being named to the Homecoming court of your high school is many a girl’s dream but that dream turned into a nightmare when one 16 year old Michigan girl was voted in as a prank until her town rallied to support her. Many local businesses are contributing to the expense of the occasion so she can have a special night.
On September 13 2012, Whitney Kropp, a sophomore at West Branch’s Ogemaw Heights High School, learned that she had been voted in as part of the Homecoming court as a cruel joke. She had endured teasing before according to her mother Bernice Kropp, but nothing that compared with this.
Kids would point at her in the hallways and laugh. The boy who was chosen along with her dropped out of the program. Whitney was humiliated. She even endured teasing on Facebook. Whitney thought she was nothing but a joke to her classmates.
Before long, though, other kids began approaching her with support, encouraging her to take her place and not miss out on Homecoming. The student body of 800 elects a king and queen along with a prince and princess from each class to make up the Homecoming Court.
Dan Cwayna, the superintendent of the West Branch-Rose City School District, refrained from commenting on the situation out of respect for Whitney’s privacy other than to say he was aware of the situation.
The quiet, polite teen has decided to go to the dance with her boyfriend, who has been nothing but supportive throughout the ordeal. Her mom says they were all very angry at first but the outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming.
When she learned of the prank, resident Jamie Kline started a Facebook page to garner support for Whitney. Though only 2100 people call West Branch home, the Facebook page has so far gathered more than 4000 likes from people throughout Michigan and across the nation. The page is filled with messages of support and shared experiences of bullying.
Among the businesses reaching out to Whitney is Jen Case, owner of Whit’s End Salon in West Branch She has offered to color and style Kropp’s hair at no cost to her. She understands that bullying is a serious problem and she wanted to do what she could to turn the trauma into a positive event.
Whitney’s gown, shoes, dinner and even a tiara are being supplied by other local businesses who share Case’s sentiments. They all wanted Whitney to have the night of her dreams.