Seventeen-year-old Brytni Srader, wearing a hot pink dress, may not have been able to speak her thoughts, but her smiling eyes said it all as she was crowned Bethel's honorary homecoming queen Friday night.
Brytni, a special needs Bethel senior, was born with a rare chromosome defect. Her mother, Bridget Stobbe, said Brytni weighs 38 pounds and looks much younger.
She has Partial Trisomy 18, a condition that keeps her from growing. Brytni also has seizures every day as she battles a multitude of health-related problems relating to her condition.
But all that didn't matter Friday night, as Brytni, with her hair and painted-pink nails done special for the occasion, arrived at Bethel's homecoming ceremony in a red Ford Mustang convertible as friends and family members wore "Team Brytni" T-shirts.
And since Brytni is still recovering from a hip surgery in June, her brother, Bethel sophomore Brady Sullivan, and her cousin, Bethel senior Travis Sullivan, both football players on the team, escorted her to the middle of the football field for the formal ceremony to accept her crown.
"It's exciting," Stobbe said. "She grabs your heart real fast."
Stobbe, who said she was prepared to be moved to tears by the occasion, said while Brytni can't talk, there's no doubt that she was elated about the honor.
Thrilled by the school district's decision to honor Brytni, Stobbe said friends, family and the wonderful teachers at Bethel have helped Brytni and the family all these years.
And for Stobbe, who was Bethel's football homecoming queen during her senior year, it was a bittersweet night to see her daughter being honored.
During the official homecoming ceremonies, Mollie Brewer, escorted by Colten Carter, was crowned the 2013 Bethel Homecoming Queen.
For more about the game, see the sports section Saturday and Sunday.