Ryan Murphy escorts Molly Taylor during the Biloxi High homecoming rehearsal.
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -
Biloxi High hosted its Homecoming game Friday night, but the highlight of the whole game wasn't just the tackles and touchdowns. When the homecoming royalty took to the field, all eyes were on one member of the court.
It's a dream for so many high school seniors, to walk down the football field as part of their school's homecoming court. Eighteen-year-old Ryan Murphy got to live that dream Friday, thanks to his fellow students.
Ryan was born with Down Syndrome. On Friday night, he escorted Molly Taylor at the Biloxi High homecoming game.
When asked how it felt to be an escort, Ryan replied with a big smile, "Oh, that's super dee duper! I am so excited about my friend Madison."
Madison Pontius is a Biloxi High cheerleader who rallied to get votes for Ryan.
"He's been my best friend for a long time. I just really love him. He's my best friend," said Madison. "I was so happy for him."
Like so many challenges in his life, Ryan tackled this one head-on. To get on the ballot, he had to start a petition and get 33 percent of his class to sign it. The support for him was overwhelming. Out of 48 seniors, Ryan was one of 15 chosen by the entire student body.
"They just all stood behind him and wanted him to get court really bad," said Biloxi High senior Molly Taylor. "If there was a homecoming king, he would have gotten it, no question."
"He's so nice. He has the best sense of humor. He makes everybody laugh, and we all want to make his senior year better and make him feel like a normal kid because he is," she added.
At a time where teens are often teased for how they look, Ryan's parents worried about their son being accepted. Eighteen years of fears and uncertainties finally melted away.
"I'm very happy," said Ryan's mom Sarah Murphy."I'll be very happy, very proud and it's going to be a great experience for everybody. It's a community."
"I'm blown away. This has been a dream come true for him to be accepted for who he is. This really says a lot for the younger generation," said his dad Mark Murphy.
Friday night, Ryan will continue his duties as an escort at the school's homecoming dance.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:58 PM EDT2013-05-22 02:58:13 GMT
The votes are in, and preliminary results show Chokwe Lumumba has come out on top in the Democratic Party Runoff Election against Jonathan Lee. With 100% of precincts reporting, Lumumba claims the electionMore >>
The votes are in and preliminary results show Chokwe Lumumba has come out on top in the Democratic Party Runoff Election against Jonathan Lee.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:34 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:34:41 GMT
NOTE: Photos and videos will be added to this story later in the evening. The Walthall County Sheriffs Department along with The Humane Society of the United States are in the process of raiding a puppyMore >>
Among the dogs, many are dead, and skeletal remains were mixed with living animals in small, dark, filthy enclosures.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:21 PM EDT2013-05-21 22:21:59 GMT
James Hutto interrupted his own capital murder trial Tuesday morning, angry that judge Bill Gowan decided against the admissibility of certain evidence. "None of that matters? F***. I don't give a f***More >>
James Hutto, accused of capital murder in the beating death of 81-year-old Ethel Winstead Simpson of Clinton, expressed anger over certain evidence in court Tuesday.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 2:15 PM EDT2013-05-21 18:15:12 GMT
The two men battling for the chance to become Jackson's next mayor campaigned into the night as voters prepared to go to the polls for Tuesday's democratic primary runoff. On the WLBT 6pm report, we talkedMore >>
The two leading men battling for the chance to become Jackson's next mayor campaigned into the night as voters prepared to go to the polls for Tuesday's Democratic Primary runoff.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 5:48 PM EDT2013-05-21 21:48:55 GMT
The storm system from Oklahoma is moving eastward Tuesday night. A Tornado Watch is in effect for Humphreys, Attala and Holmes counties until 10 p.m. Tuesday. The brunt of the action will stay northMore >>
The storm system from Oklahoma is moving eastward Tuesday night. A Tornado Watch is in effect for Humphreys, Attala and Holmes counties until 10 p.m. Tuesday.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:35 PM EDT2013-05-21 22:35:19 GMT
The Mississippi Tea Party carried a nationwide protest of the IRS to the streets of downtown Jackson at high noon. The issue, IRS security of conservative groups like the tea party. We found some 20-25More >>
The Mississippi Tea Party carried a nationwide protest of the IRS to the streets of downtown Jackson at high noon. The issue is IRS security of conservative groups like the Tea Party. More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >>
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 11:48 PM EDT2013-05-21 03:48:15 GMT
A woman has been arrested after she allegedly locked her four young daughters out of their home for days at a time.A witness told police that the four girls, ages 7, 5, 3 and 1, had been in the same dirtyMore >>
A woman has been arrested after she allegedly locked her four young daughters out of their home for days at a time.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 1:35 PM EDT2013-05-21 17:35:44 GMT
Linda Gale Reed is accused of stealing over $20,000 from her employer in Copiah County, Moore Fabrication. That's what led investigators to change her status from missing to wanted during their 2012 searchMore >>
Linda Gale Reed is accused of stealing over $20,000 from her employer in Copiah County, Moore Fabrication. That's what led investigators to change her status from "missing" to "wanted" during their 2012 search following her disappearance.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 1:41 PM EDT2013-05-21 17:41:07 GMT
The Jackson Police Department is searching for two men who robbed a cell phone store Monday night. Shortly before 7 p.m., two male suspects entered the T-Mobile store at 4924 I-55 north. They robbedMore >>
The Jackson Police Department is searching for two men who robbed a cell phone store Monday night.More >>
WLBT 3 - Fox 40
715 South Jefferson Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39201