GENEVA – Geneva High School students Krissy Althersohn and Tom Broviak aren't the prototypical high school homecoming queen and king.
But rarely has the selection of a homecoming royal couple, in Geneva or elsewhere, engendered such a reaction of goodwill from much of an entire school body and the community.
"Everyone has been very inspired by this," said Tom Rogers, principal at Geneva High School. "It's just great to see."
Last month, students at Geneva High School voted Althersohn and Broviak to be the queen and king at the high school's annual homecoming celebration.
The wrinkle? Althersohn and Broviak were both special-needs students at the high school.
The vote initially prompted a concerned reaction from Rogers and others in administration at the high school when the school's activity directors brought it to the attention of the principal about two weeks ago.
Rogers began asking questions to make sure that the election was "on the up-and-up."
"I wanted to make sure this was done in the right way," he said.
What he discovered, he said, left him applauding many of his students.
Altersohn and Broviak participate in the PE Leadership program, a physical education program for students with special needs at the high school. A group of 12th grade students at the high school, who have been specially trained, work alongside the students with special needs to provide assistance and some supervision.
Rogers said this year, that group of P.E. Leadership peer leaders - about 15-20 students in all, he said - decided to launch a campaign to elect Altersohn and Broviak, who the peer leaders had befriended, to the homecoming court.
And their fellow students bought in, electing the couple as the school's 2012 homecoming royalty.
Before allowing the crowning to go forward, Rogers said he and other school officials made "absolutely sure" that both Altersohn and Broviak and their families were aware of what was happening, and that they had approved.
"Everyone couldn't have been happier," Rogers said.
The royal couple was crowned and rode together through downtown Geneva in the annual homecoming parade, to loud applause and cheers.
When photos of the couple were posted to Facebook, the photos drew thousands of "Likes" and glowing comments, both to cheer on the couple and to salute the Geneva High School student body.
"It's a really nice story," Rogers said. "They were very proactive in supporting their friends in this program.
"And I'm thrilled that this group of our students would go out of their way to make this happen for such two wonderful young people."