When it came time to vote for the 2015 Junior Prom at Waupaca High School, Mikenzy Snell noticed right away that her best friend Matt Pliska was missing from the ballot.
“His name was the first name I looked for,” she said. “When it wasn’t there, I knew I had to say something.”
Snell immediately brought it to the districts attention.
According to District Administrator David Poeschl, the student’s name was not on the ballot because of a technicality in the system that generates a list of students who are eligible for election to prom court.
“I wanted him to have a chance,” said Snell. “Matt has special needs and he deserves a chance just like everyone else.”
With the new ballot out, and voting complete, Pliska had made it onto the prom court.
“I am glad that he has good friends like Mikenzy to be his voice when needed,” said Matt’s mother Flonnie Pliska. “It means a lot that she did this.”
“I just did what needed to be done,” Snell said.
She and Matt have been friends since the fifth grade. The two had been planning on going to prom together since last year.
“Matt is so handsome and has a killer smile,” she said. “Everyone who knows him loves him. He is the happiest person I know.”
In her eyes what makes him so special is his attitude.
“Whether a good attitude, or a sassy one, he has a lot of it,” she said.
He calls her “my girl,” while she calls him a protector.
“Listen to this message,” she said.
Snell plays a message left on her cell phone, by Matt, in the weeks before prom.
“I love you ‘Nenzy’,” he said. “You are the best. You’re my date for prom.”
And so, on March 28, 2015 Matt and Mikenzy headed to the Waupaca High School Junior Prom.
She, was in a beautiful gown; Matt in a black suit with red vest and bow tie.
“We road in a long white limo,” Snell said. “The girls were on one end and the boys on the other.”
She laughs as she shares stories about all the girls singing.
“Matt booed us,” she said. “The boys were laughing and encouraging him.”
According to her the more they sang, the more Matt booed.
“In that moment, he was just another one of the guys,” she said.
“His classmates have been amazing,” Flonnie SAID. “I have never seen so many of the regular students interact with him. It has truly brought him a lot of happiness.”
During their photos that evening, the couple held up a sign that read, “Real friends don’t count extra chromosomes.”
Matt has Down syndrome and has battled leukemia.
“Many people have shied away from kids with disabilities,” Snell said. “I wanted people to know that some things just don’t matter, true friends accept you as you are.”
As the night went on the couple tore up the dance floor.
“He was a little shy at first,” she said. “But once he got going it was a blast.”
“He loves music and he loves to dance,” Flonnie said. “Everybody was great with him.”
According to Mikenzy, a lot of people thought he would be the Prom King.
“It’s nice to know that there are a lot of people out there that care and support him,” Flonnie said.
“He will always be a king in my eyes,” added Snell.
One thing is for certain, the two share a special bond.
“I will be his best friends forever,” she said. “Someday when I get married, Matt is going to be the best man.”
Mikenzy’s hope is that other people will give those with disabilities a chance.
“They deserve that chance,” she said. “Be patient and listen to what they have to say. You don’t know what you’re missing.”