North Carolina students with Down syndrome nomimated homecoming king and queen

CARY, NC -- A pair of students with Down syndrome has been nominated for homecoming king and queen by their peers at Green Hope High School.

Jacob Gutierrez and Gianna Giambalvo - both 19 - say it's an honor just to be selected.

"I'm pretty excited about it, and it's my dream," said Gianna.

"I will jump! I'm not kidding!" said Gutierrez.

The long-time friends are popular with their classmates. Gianna's sister, Nicolette, also a senior, started a social media campaign to get the pair nominated.

"I Tweeted it one day, and it ended up getting so many more views than I thought, and people started talking about it in school," said Nicolette.

Students roared with cheers as the duo were announced at the school's pep rally Friday afternoon.

Gianna is making last-minute preparations for her big moment on the field.

"I got mani-pedis for it. I had a quick massage," she said.

"Her sister will help her do hair, makeup, and we're still working on an outfit," said Gianna's mother, Esther.

If Gianna and Jacob win, it will be the first time a pair of special-needs students are crowned.

"I want to make sure I do win it, of course. If not, it's okay," said Gianna.

She says no matter the outcome, they've already won by bringing together their classmates on this very special night.

"It makes me happy that they're doing something different. They're voting for people who, this will make their entire year. They'll talk about it for the rest of their lives," said Nicolette.

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. ABC11 is supporting the TDSN Buddy Walk on Oct. 12. To learn more, go to:

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