Krystofer Wilson and Paris Acquaro were introduced as the 2015 Baldwin High School homecoming king and queen at halftime of the football game Saturday.
When the announcer said their names, the crowd responded with raucous applause as she was fitted with a tiara and sash and he with a long blue cape and a bulbous red crown.
It was a victory both for the pair and for a community that appreciated a king and queen who took unique journeys to royalty.
“Krystofer was diagnosed at 18 months of age with autism,” Krystofer’s mother, Dale Astar, explains. “He was nonverbal until the age of 5.”
Nonetheless, Wilson was able to take part in Baldwin School District inclusion classes, and also received student support services at Baldwin Middle School.
That, “along with his hard work,” adds Baldwin High School principal Susan Knors, helped bring him to his current high-functioning level.
“He’s been an inspiration," Knors adds. "I’m not surprised he’s the homecoming king, because the kids here at Baldwin just love him.”
In response to the aforementioned halftime cheering he and Acquaro received, Krystofer doffed his crown and waved, which only brought the ovation to a greater volume.
“This feels really good,” Wilson explained. “I think it’s great.”
It also felt great for Acquaro, who came to America from Sydney, Australia, during her freshman year.
She's still in touch with some of her Sydney friends, who note how "American" she is now. Considering her homecoming crown, they have a point.
“They don’t have homecoming queens in Australia," Acquaro said. "They only know what a homecoming queen is from watching American movies.”
Wilson finished with a message for anybody who wants to chase their dream of homecoming royalty.
“Just do the right things and you can do it," he said. "Go for it.”