Papillion (KPTM) – For the first time at a south metro high school, a student with a disability was elected homecoming king.
Jacob Gehringer is 18, and was nominated to Papillion-La Vista South High School royal court and took the crown Friday night.
"They really do see him as a person who is a part of their community," said Jacob's mother Denise Gehringer, "and not as a mascot figure or a token figure."
Team lead of special needs at Papillion-La Vista South, Nathan Cain says a lot has changed in the 7 years he has worked at this high school.
"This class and this school culture is moving from the idea that a disability used to be a big deal to where now it's just kind of, we're all in this together," Cain said. "We're all here to support each other."
Jacob was born with Down syndrome and he's one of four boys in his family. He plays the cymbals in the school marching band, and his biggest accomplishment to date is winning four gold medals at the Special Olympics held here in Nebraska.
His mother gives credit to Jacob's brothers for encouraging him to do his best.
"They support him when he needs support, but I would say they, if anyone, have extremely high expectations for him."
The crowning was at the homecoming game at PLSHS stadium.
The score for the football game against Bellevue West High School was 34 to 24 for Bellevue.
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