Sunday, September 29, 2013
BREWSTER Even before Brewster High School senior Ana Bohorquez was crowned homecoming queen, she knew she had it in the bag.
“Everybody would tell her, ‘You’re the queen, you’re the queen,’” fellow senior and homecoming king Adrian Urias said.
Bohorquez, 20, is by all accounts a beloved member of the class of 2013.
She has Down syndrome, which means she was born with a partial or full extra chromosome.
Her classmates decided earlier this month that they wanted to give her a memorable homecoming for her final year at the high school.
Oscar Roa nominated her during a senior class meeting as one of three senior girls who were candidates, Urias said.
“Ana had the top votes,” he said. “Once the three names were there, we knew it was Ana. Everybody was with it, everybody wanted Ana to be (queen). We all love Ana.”
“Yes,” Bohorquez said, nodding emphatically when asked if she was excited to win. When the tiara was placed on her head, she said she felt like a queen.
Urias was standing next to Bohorquez when she was crowned queen at the Sept. 20 football game between the Bears and the Tonasket Tigers.
“Everybody was just taking pictures, laughing, having a good time, yelling at Ana,” he said.
“She’ll remember it, I think, forever.”
Urias accompanied her to the dance, but he smiled when he said Bohorquez decided to dance the night away with Roa instead of him.
Principal Linda Dezellem had high praise for the senior class.
“It was totally from their hearts; it was their plan,” Dezellem said. “We have the best kids, and I’m going to say that, in the entire Okanogan County. Our kids are the best, and they are so welcoming to other students.”
While Bohorquez is receiving a lot of attention at the moment, Dezellem said the teens are just as inclusive of other special education students, as well as the children of migrant parents who transfer in and out of the school district each year.
Brewster’s usual prerequisite for homecoming royalty is that the candidates must be involved in sports, but the Associated Student Body made an exception for this year so Bohorquez could participate, Dezellem said.
“It was totally kid-driven, and to me that shows what school spirit is all about,” she said. “To me, it was phenomenal.”
Bohorquez’s parents, Eduardo Bohorquez and Florencia Garcia, spoke with The Chronicle through an interpreter, Marlen Guzman.
Garcia said she was “very, very happy for her (daughter) to be nominated for queen for homecoming.
She said she prayed for her daughter to get the nomination.
Eduardo Bohorquez said the support from his daughter’s classmates made a huge impression on the family.
“It was a rewarding feeling of accomplishment” they received when they heard about it, he said.
Bohorquez is the youngest of five girls; all her sisters are Brewster High School graduates.
Her parents said the school district has been working with Bohorquez since she was about 3 years old.
Bohorquez is “just like any typical girl,” Garcia said. “Ana is a young girl who is very kind, she’s very attentive, she’s very humble.”
She loves to cook, write, and sing and dance, her mother said.
“I have a lot of CDs,” Bohorquez said, pulling out lyrics books for Hannah Montana, Miranda Cosgrove and “High School Musical” from her bag.
She pointed out photos on the wall of herself at work, baking pizza at school, eating birthday cake and posing with family members.
She works at Subway, 907 U.S. Highway 97, where she prepares bread, rinses vegetables and packages cookies.
In the classroom, she learns about life skills, cooking and manners, said Carrie Clark-Wengel, the paraprofessional working with Bohorquez this year.
Her senior year is all about preparing for what will come after gradation, Clark-Wengel said.
Eduardo Bohorquez and Garcia said “anyone can be what they want” when they have support, and other parents of children with disabilities aren’t alone.
“He recalls when Ana was younger and he received a prayer about what her condition really meant,” Guzman said after Eduardo Bohorquez spoke. “It said she was an angel sent to care for them, but they care for her every day of her life.”
“She has been, from day one, an angel sent from God,” Garcia said.
Bohorquez and Garcia thanked their daughter’s classmates for their support and for making her homecoming queen, and they thanked the school district and the paraprofessionals who have worked with her over the years.
“They’re very blessed and gracious to God that they were able to raise their daughters here and through the Brewster School District,” Guzman said on behalf of Ana’s parents.
“The family is a huge supporter. They are awesome,” Dezellem said. “All the respect in the world for the things that they’ve done, to make the most normal basic education possible for their kid.”