Wisconsin junior with Down Syndrome takes Miss Minn. to prom

MENOMONIE (WITI) -- Prom night will be unforgettable for a Menomonie, Wisconsin high school junior. 18-year-old Charlie Gainey is a nominee of the prom court at Menomonie High School.

"Charlie is really a good kid. He's a great guy that people respect in our school and everybody knows Charlie," teacher Audric Buhr said.

Gainey has Down Syndrome, but Buhr says that doesn't bother other students.

"Students don't look at Charlie as a different person. They look at him as one of their class," Buhr said.

"I think sometimes people with disabilities can get left out and this just shows that his class thinks of him as another student and doesn't single him out for his disabilities or anything," Buhr said.

Danielle Hooper, a junior at UW-Stout, and the holder of the Miss Minnesota USA title just recently heard Charlie's story.

"I work in the financial aid office, just part-time at Stout, and one of the ladies who works there with me knows Charlie's family. She heard he got nominated to his prom court so she kind of thought of the idea that maybe I could go with him," Hooper said.

On Friday, May 3rd, Charlie met his prom date for the first time.

"I think she's so special. She has a great smile, she has a great laugh," Charlie said.

"We didn't have a prom court at my high school. We had a homecoming court but I wasn't nominated. I was really shy in high school," Hooper said.

Win or not, Charlie's junior prom will be a fairy tale all its own.

"It doesn't matter if I'm the king or not. All that matters is the dancing and having a great time," Charlie said.

As it turned out, Charlie was named prom king!