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8-year-old homecoming prince brings awareness, smiles and cheers

York Dispatch

Braydon Flynn is coming into his own, and the 8-year-old's parents couldn't be happier. 

The Valley View Elementary School second-grader, who has Down syndrome, was chosen as one of two princes for the York Suburban High School Homecoming celebrations.

Homecoming prince Braydon Flynn, 8, right, poses with the homecoming and princes/princesses courts during the York Suburban High School Homecoming pep rally Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. Braydon, who has Down syndrome, is a Valley View Elementary second-grader who participates in class with the help of a personal care assistant. The high school student senate chooses the young court of princes and princesses from the district to appear in support of the school's homecoming court. Bill Kalina photo

"It was overwhelming, emotional, to see my son, who, at one point, we didn't think could be part of the community," said his mother, Rebecca Flynn. "To be so welcomed, to have people yelling his name, clapping ..."

Braydon was introduced with Keira Steinmetz, a third-grader at Indian Rock Elementary School, whom he escorted during a homecoming parade, a pep rally and the homecoming game, along with the homecoming court. 

Braydon wore a tuxedo with a Suburban-orange bow tie for the formal introductions. He made the rounds at his school to show off his new duds. That included a stop at his classroom, where he attends class with the help of a personal care assistant.

"He used to be pretty shy," said his father, James Flynn, "but now he is able to openly come up and talk to people. His whole personality has just opened up."

The York Suburban High School student senate picks princes and princesses from district elementary schools to appear with the high school homecoming court, and this year's senate learned Braydon wanted to participate.

"We were super excited to have him be on board with us," student senator Lulu Mooney said.

Homecoming prince Braydon Flynn, 8, blows a kiss to his mother, Rebecca Flynn, during the York Suburban High School Homecoming pep rally Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. Braydon, who has Down syndrome, is a Valley View Elementary second-grader who participates in class with the help of a personal care assistant. The high school student senate chooses the young court of princes and princesses from district schools to support the high school homecoming court. Bill Kalina photo

Rebecca Flynn said it was hard for Braydon to get to this point of inclusion, and he has brought awareness to the community.

"Braydon has really made a difference, and Suburban has just really opened their arms to make that difference with him."