OGDEN -- When Gerri Brown learned her son, Trey, had been nominated to be homecoming king at Ben Lomond High School, she asked if students were being nice or making fun of him.
Her first instinct was to protect her son. Trey has gone through the special education program in the Ogden School District starting with preschool, and parents of special-needs kids fear the taunts their kids may receive. Brown needn't have worried.
"I found out it was absolutely nice," she said Thursday night after Trey and fellow special-needs student Alexis Martinez were announced as Ben Lomond's 2011 Homecoming Royalty, chosen by the vote of the student body.
Alexis and Trey proudly wore their crowns as they were paraded around the football field Thursday with parents, students and teachers watching, many with tears streaming.
Being the homecoming king and queen was something the two thought they would never experience.
"This is something these little kids will always remember," Brown said.
The realization that Trey and Alexis were selected dawned slowly on the students at halftime of the football game. As the runners-up were announced, soon only two names were left.
"That means it's them! That means it's them!" many shouted right before the winning names were announced.
Shelly Moss, Alexis' teacher, giggled and laughed as she talked about how neat it was to watch students' support for Alexis to be homecoming queen.
"It wasn't us. That's the best part," she said of the teachers and staff at the school.
When some of the students approached her with the idea, she was thrilled, and so was Alexis.
"Every time we talked about it, she covered her face and smiled," Moss said of Alexis and the nomination.
"It just gives me hope for the future."
Principal Ben Smith also was thrilled when the winners were announced.
"I think it's just awesome. It's pretty indicative of the diversity at our school," he said.
He watched as a groundswell of support rose for the two students who are well-known at the school for their kindness and positive attitudes.
"It's just a real neat deal," Smith said.
"This is just unreal for us," said Alexis' mother, Denice Manuel.
"When you have a child with disabilities, you never think they will experience things like this."
Alexis couldn't hide her smile despite her face being surrounded by flowers she had been given upon her win.
"It's good. The pink, the flowers, the crown," she said with a huge smile.
The homecoming king felt the same way.
"I liked everyone cheering and waving at me," Trey said.
He was quickly surrounded by well-wishers after his win.
His mom said being surrounded by others is nothing new for him. People come up to him in the store and say hello, and because his sight is very poor, he often doesn't know who it is but always is very friendly, she said.
Brown was also thrilled with Trey's win.
"I was just so touched at the thoughtfulness of the nomination, I cried."