Utah High school junior Michael Conrad was excited to get invited to the homecoming dance by a cheerleader, until he found out it was a prank. When word of the bullying incident reached his former debate teacher, Jenn Palomino, she decided to do something about it.
Some people don’t realize it, but Michael has autism. He’s high functioning, but some students aren’t mature enough to handle people with differences, so Palomino enlisted some help from a friend who put her in touch with Dexonna Talbot, current Greater Miss Salt Lake. The pageant winner was happy to get involved when she heard about Michael’s fake homecoming invitation, she surprised him during class and asked him to be her date to the dance and he happily accepted.
Talbot plans to spend homecoming afternoon with Michael at the arcade before they head to the dance and a local business has even donated a limo rental for the occasion. She says she wants to make sure Michael has a positive experience and he’s excited. “You can’t pin me down,” he says. “I’ll always get back up.”