High school is popularly known for all kinds of things like prom, bullying, cheerleading and so many other things that happen there. Countless movies have been made about the trials and tribulations of high school. Most of these movies such as Heathers, Clueless, Mean Girls, Ten Things I Hate About You, Breakfast Club, and many, many more- make a point of demonstrating that the teenage years are difficult, shallow, drama filled, and in general tend to bring out the worst in people. And, more often than not, these issues will boil over on prom night.
Luckily, not every teen’s prom night or high school experience, in general, is a story of heartbreak, bullying, and disappointment. For example a story of two old childhood friends: Mary Lapkowicz and Ben Moser- who grew up together as friends and eventually became each other’s prom dates.
Mary and Ben were friends from a very young age. Even when they were in their childhood days, Mary and Ben were an example of friends who, despite their differences, always got along. Ben was your run-of-the-mill suburban kid. In many ways, Mary was, too. However, she also stood out; Mary has Down syndrome, and as a child, she was always more vulnerable to being bullied, left out or looked down on by other normal kids.
Fortunately for Mary, she had a best friend Ben who always had her back and looked out for her.
“He watched over her constantly,” remembered Tracey Spogli, their fourth-grade teacher.
She added, “If she was looking like she wasn’t having fun, he would go over and talk to her. He would pull her into whatever activity they were doing. He just always watched out for her.”
That year, when both of them were only nine years old, Ben promised Mary something that she would never forget – he told her that when they were much older, he would take her to prom and be her date.
Fast forward seven years later, when both best friends were in high school. Ben and Mary were still friends, despite the fact that they went to different high schools. So many things had changed: Ben had grown to be much taller than Mary, and he had become the star quarterback at his school. Mary, on the other hand, was also still the same as she was, but she still remembered Ben’s promise that he had made to her during their childhood days when they were in 4th grade, although she had assumed he had forgotten it.
When it comes to prom night in high schools, normally it is the cheerleaders and popular girls that are picked by other popular boys from the different sports teams in school. It is unusual for a girl with Down syndrome to be picked by a popular boy, who is even the best quarterback at his school. That is why when Ben – a quarterback on his school football team asked out Mary, who has a condition of if Down syndrome to be his prom date, everyone was shocked.
Mary was very surprised when she all of a sudden received a bunch of balloons. Scrawled on them in sharpie was that long-awaited invitation that read: “Prom?”
She could not believe it, she was astonished when she got the invitation. She did not think in her wildest dreams that someone would be kind enough to ask her out for prom. It was a great surprise when no one other than her childhood close friend Ben asked her out to prom.
Other kids at school would have never asked her out thinking she was weird and different from them or made fun of her because she has down syndrome. So it was very kind and humanely of Ben to stand out and ask Mary out, in a way of honoring and staying good to the promise he had made seven years ago when they were in 4th grade.
“I was surprised,” said Mary. She hadn’t expected to have a date for prom. “I was going to go with some friends.” Mary gladly accepted Ben’s surprise invitation. She was thrilled. Ben and Mary went to prom on May 8th, 2015.
Ben’s mother, on the other hand, was also very excited and happy for the two good friends that she took to Facebook to share this beautiful story of her son Ben and his longtime friend Mary.
“Today with joyful tears in my eyes and down my face I watch a promise made, seven years ago, to a beautiful girl fulfilled,” Lisa Moser, Ben’s mother, wrote on her Facebook.
She wasn’t the only one touched by Ben’s heartwarming gesture.