(THOMPSON’S STATION, Tenn.) — Tennessee high school senior with Down syndrome had the surprise of his life on Friday when he was chosen by his fellow classmates as “Coming Home King.”
Daniel Wood, a senior at Independence High School in Thompson’s Station, Tennessee, was one of four senior boys nominated for the title.
After a vote by the entire 1,450-strong student body, Wood was crowned “Coming Home King” Friday night during a school basketball game. After being crowned, Wood’s fellow classmates rushed onto the court and even the opposing team and their fans began chanting his name, according to the school’s assistant principal.
“I actually teared up, which is pretty hard to get me to do,” Kurt Jones told ABC News. “I usually crown the king but I got word just before they announced it that the boys wanted to crown the king so that kind of tipped me off.”
“I think everybody knew Daniel was going to win, except for Daniel,” he said.
One of those who wanted to give Wood his crown was his good friend Jake Current, also a senior.
It was Current, 17, who led the campaign to get Wood nominated for the honor.
“I know he’s been waiting for a moment like this so I made it my mission to get him to win it,” Current told ABC News. “I rallied all my friends together to nominate him and then we voted for him and he came out on top.”
Current says he and Wood, who was not available for comment today, first met in a marketing class their sophomore year at Independence High.
“We started doing projects together and hanging out,” he said. “In our junior year we just had lunch together and I saw him sitting by himself so my friends and I sat with him.”
“Now, in our senior year, we hang out every weekend and I pick him up and take him to all the sport games and my baseball games,” Current added.
Current says Wood’s parents told him that when Wood got home after the game Friday, he watched the video of his being crowned over and over.
“The next day he was wearing the crown the whole day,” Current said.
Current plans to attend the University of Tennessee at Knoxville next year and says Wood will stay a major part of his life.
“He calls or we Face Time every day and I plan on doing the same at college,” Current said. “We’ll talk on the regular. He’s become part of my life, for sure.”
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