Jessica Giddens has been involved with drama and other creative outlets at Lakeside High School. So when the budding playwright and actress heard her name announced as the school’s 2012 homecoming queen, she was ready for the spotlight.
She raised both arms in triumph then began blowing kisses to the crowd. The crowd cheered loudly when she was introduced as a potential candidate, and roared when the decision was made official.
And after 2011 homecoming queen Rebecca Boland placed the tiara on her head, she gave a practiced wave to the throng that would have made the most experienced royal jealous.
“I feel really good,” said Giddens. “I was surprised and I was so happy. The best part is being with everybody and being here with my dad. I love him so much.”
Her father John, who was her escort, was also proud to be out there with his daughter, who has Down Syndrome.
“She surprised me with her wave out there,” he said. “She must have been practicing when we weren’t looking.”
Giddens also called his daughter an inspiration to his family and hopefully to those at Lakeside.
“It’s a great night for Jessica and our entire family,” John Giddens said. “The kids here at Lakeside High School have been so supportive of Jessica and our family for the last four years since she’s been here. This is just a wonderful conclusion to her career here at Lakeside. I think that she shows that any kid can achieve any goal if they set their mind to it.”
Runner-up Karla Valcourt said she was happy Giddens was named queen.
“I think that it shows how respectful our school is, to realize that Jessica is a great person,” Valcourt said. “And she’s not different than any of us.”
Valcourt wasn’t surprised by Giddens reaction to becoming queen.
“That’s Jessica. She’s a diva,” Valcourt said.
Second runner-up Susan Brands was also glad that Giddens was first choice.
“I’m definitely glad she got it,” Brands said. “She deserved it. Everyone loves her.”