Polk County blind student crowned prom queen

Polk County
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LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Raquel Gaspar’s family says she can do anything she sets her mind to and the 19-year-old proved that again on prom night.

Gaspar who goes by Rachel was born blind and after a little bit of encouragement from her mom and friends, Gaspar decided to run for Tenoroc High Prom Queen.

Though there were eight other queen hopefuls on the ballot, none actively campaigned against Gaspar. Her classmates were so supportive of her run they even made campaign posters, including one in braille so Gaspar could read it.

When the DJ got on the microphone to announce that Gaspar had won the prestigious honor the room packed full of high school students erupted.

Gaspar’s win says a lot about her and her determination, but it also speaks to Tenoroc’s culture, said, Principal Jason Looney.

“All of our students are welcome and respected. When we do dances and events, the students with disabilities are up there participating and all the other students are supporting them,” Looney said. “Our students with disabilities are accepted and loved. There is no separation.”

Gaspar will study in PCPS’ Transition program, which serves students with disabilities up to age 22, helping them develop work and life skills. She aims to become a chorus teacher one day, and also plans to learn guitar. Congratulations Raquel!

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