Homecoming is always a special time for the spirited students at Mississippi State University. But this year was particularly memorable as student Spencer Kirkpatrick was crowned Homecoming King for the year's festivities.
Kirkpatrick, who hails from Tupelo, has down syndrome and underwent open heart surgery at ten-weeks-old—but he's not about to let challenging life circumstances slow him down. "He has always adapted with his challenges," Kevan Kirkpatrick, Spencer's father, told The Clarion-Ledger. "We've also been fortunate to be surrounded by people that adapt with him."
"My friend, Shannon Johnston, taught me that when someone like Spencer comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself and it comes in the way other people treat that person," Kevan continued to the news outlet.
Clearly, the students at MSU treat Kirkpatrick with much respect and adoration, as evidenced by him winning the Homecoming King title with 36.12% of the vote.
Congrats to our 2019 Homecoming Queen and King! pic.twitter.com/SBzcRa4hzW— MSU Student Association (@MSU_SA) October 9, 2019
Kirkpatrick is part of MSU's ACCESS program, which grants individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities the chance to participate actively in campus life in a four-year, non-degree program with a variety of academic and extracurricaular standards.
The results are in! Congratulations to Mississippi State’s 2019 Homecoming King Spencer Kirkpatrick of Tupelo and Homecoming Queen Rachel Dumke of Franklin, Tennessee! Thanks for representing Mississippi’s leading research university. #WeRingTrue pic.twitter.com/mMwE1McUMu— Mississippi State (@msstate) October 9, 2019
Below, watch the students erupt into cheers when Kirkpatrick's reign as Homecoming King is announced.
We're hoping Spencer and his Homecoming Queen Rachel had a wonderful weekend celebrating. Here's to many more happy memories at MSU, Spencer!