Student with Down syndrome wins Homecoming King in Sequim

by: Alison Grande Updated:

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Sequim, Wash. - UPDATE: Nick Barrett won Homecoming King on Friday, October 16. 

The crowd erupted with applause when Nick was crowned.

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Students at Sequim High School are honoring a classmate who inspires them with his determination and friendship.
 
Nick Barrett, 17, has Down syndrome.

He's in the life skills class at the school; he's also a member of the wrestling team.

Barrett was chosen as a member of the Homecoming Court last Friday.  The announcement was made during lunch at school.

"I had never heard the cafeteria that loud, everyone cheering for Nick," said Kevyn Ward, who has been friends with Nick for two years. They are also on the wrestling team together. "I always love hanging out with Nick. I see him every day on campus. I just give him a big hug. He's always nice to have around."
 
Bill Schroepfer is the Sequim wrestling coach. He said he met Barrett two years ago when it was suggested he manage the high school wrestling team. Schroepfer knew he wanted Barrett to be on the team.   "Having him on the team has been a great inspiration. The other kids really rally around him," he said.

Nick's friends pushed for classmates to vote for him. One student who was nominated wrote "Vote for Nick" in his biography.

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The push to recognize Barrett spread quickly through the school.
 
"He's loving it and seeing him in the wrestling room and being a part of homecoming is so cool," said Jamie Schroepfer, Barrett's teammate and son of the wrestling coach.
 
Terry Barrett, Nick's mother, is impressed with his classmates.  

"These kids know how to include people," she said. "He just seems to bring out the best in others. It's really heartwarming. Life isn't always easy. These are some pretty exciting times, experiences."
 
The votes are already in; the results will be announced at halftime at the Sequim High School football game on Friday at 7 p.m. Barrett will be duke, prince or king.
 
When asked what would make him happy, Barrett answered, "King." 

He is excited to be nominated. He’ll get to ride around the field in a limo with the other nominees.

Seeing Barrett with his friends at Sequim High School Monday, it was clear Barrett is already royalty.

"Homecoming never really meant anything to me until Nick was nominated," said Ward about his friend.