Homecoming at LOHS: Stories of acceptance
Choices for homecoming princesses and grand marshal show the real meaning of Laker spirit
Three girls. Three Lake Oswego High School students. Three homecoming stories.
Students vote for the homecoming court and the grand marshal of the homecoming parade, and every one of these kids has a story. But three choices reveal an atmosphere of acceptance at LOHS that cant be found just anywhere:Princess Emme Eks brain tumor is in remission, but its taken a toll on her, and she has vision, hearing and equilibrium issues; Princess Megan Schiedler is a bright-eyed redhead who has Down syndrome and a smile as big as the sky; and Grand Marshal Katie Brauti survived a head-on collision in November 2013, when she was a passenger in an SUV that collided with a Mercedes. She walked a long road to recovery before she was able to start taking classes again last May.
The three girls joined several other princesses, the band, dancers, fall athletics teams, leadership students and thespians in the homecoming parade that made its way down A Avenue last Friday. The princesses also were honored during halftime at the Lakers football game Friday night.
In elegant dresses, the young women gathered on the field, stood in the damp grass under bright, hot lights and waited to hear whether theyd wear the queens crown. C.C. Brown, wearing a black sheath and a glittering bracelet, was chosen as this years queen.
But Ek, Schiedler and Brauti had already received the acceptance and warm welcome they needed from their fellow Lakers.
A doctor discovered Ek had a tumor on her brain stem when she was just 9. Now 15, shes in remission and could be found last Friday riding in the homecoming parade as a princess. A floral wreath lay atop the head of every princess, including Ek, who beamed at spectators.
Its fun; I liked wearing the crown on my head and everyone cheering, the freshman said.
Ek had to overcome a lot to be there. Shes had brain surgery three times, 31 radiation visits and six rounds of chemotherapy. Ek is blind in one eye and has lost much of her hearing, and shes got equilibrium issues and weakness on her right side. But shes taught herself to be left-handed, and her wheelchair gets her where she needs to be unless she happens to be in a parade, in which case a convertible will do.
Ek also suffers from memory loss and chronic fatigue.
Shes a trooper; she has a lot of challenges physically and mentally, but she just goes straight ahead, said her mother, Nicole Ek.
A young lady snug in a black jacket led the homecoming parade through the Oregon rain last week. The high school seniors arm encircled the bicep of Lake Oswego Police Officer Keith Wilson. Wilson was the first responder on the scene of the crash, almost a year ago, that broker heg and put her in a coma. Brauti was treated at Oregon Health & Science University for a month before being released.
On Sept. 24, she celebrated her 18th birthday. Her mom, Trina Brauti, posted the news on Facebook for the 2,086 followers of the Katie Brauti Updates page. The page was formed after the crash to keep people up to date on the young girls progress.
We are so thankful to have her with us and so blessed and proud of her determination, wit and fight to fully recover from this, said the post by Trina Brauti.
Megan, a sophomore at LOHS, made headlines when she finished Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School in June 2013. She is the first child with Down syndrome to complete a Catholic grade school in the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon an area encompassing the western portion of the state from the top of the Cascades to the Pacific Ocean.
Her mother, Paula Schiedler, is the co-founder of Down Syndrome Network Oregon and also the one who created one of the most beautiful moments of the homecoming parade. She raced along the parade route to watch her daughter, chasing the convertible carrying her child and saying Look at her, look at her, with a smile as wide as her daughters.
Its true. Everyone has a story. But Emme Eks, Katie Brautis and Megan Schiedlers stories are made even more special by the students who loved them enough to feature them in a parade.
Kathleen Freitag was among the many spectators packing A Avenue to check out the parade, but her company was a little furrier than most peoples. Her dog, Ducati, stood by her side dressed in a red rain coat. He got his name because Freitags husband wanted a motorcycle for his 40th birthday, a Ducati; instead, she gave him a dog a safer and cuter investment, she said. She was attending the parade to see her son Jackson, a freshman on the football team and a member of the band.
Hes a little nervous, she said while waiting and peering toward the music she could hear up the road.
Then came the parade, complete with perfectly timed dancers, cheerleaders full of spirit, the band playing tunes for all to march by, a semi with its flatbed loaded with football players, the superintendent waving from a speedboat being towed along the route, a fire engine bearing Associated Student Body members, students involved in the production of Footloose and tons of other groups.
Afterwards, soccer players Carlie Leach and Ally Hock said they were thrilled with the experience.
Lake Oswego is a great school to be a part of, and to represent the school is a great thing, Leach said. Im really moved to be a part of this school.
Hock loved watching the watchers who lined the road, especially the young kids.
Theyre standing where you were last year, said Hock, a freshman.
Sophomore princess Lauren Gilbert also loved the support and said she just plain loves her school.
Our school has such a good atmosphere; it feels like theres a lot of love, she said.
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