Manheim teen crosses ‘Homecoming queen’ off her bucket list

By on October 21, 2015

 

Chloe Phillips is a champion in many ways. Being selected as Manheim Central High School’s Homecoming queen on Friday evening is the most recent example of this senior’s positive attitude. She said that her personal motto is “the sky’s the limit.”

As a member of the Special Olympics Lancaster County swim team, she’s medaled in several events, capturing her first two gold medals in June 2011.

Although she was born with Down Syndrome, she hasn’t let that affect her.

“Down Syndrome is a part of who Chloe is, but it does not define who she is. From the first day, Eric and I decided to treat Chloe as any other child,” said her mother, Anne Phillips, “The best thing about Friday night is that it shows that the student body has come to love and understand Chloe. They’ve come to understand that it’s okay to be different. There’s an incredible community support for understanding our students, even those who are unique.”

 

Chloe reacts to being chosen Homecoming Queen. (Photo by Mike Shull)

Chloe reacts to being chosen Homecoming Queen. (Photo by Alan Johnson)

 

Chloe is also a member of the high school track and field team. Although she’s been on the Special Olympics swim team since 2009, she will be on the high school swim team for the first time this year.

“I’m pretty excited and a little nervous about that,” Chloe confided.

Chloe is also a member of the high school choir and has participated in dramatic productions. A percussionist with the marching band, she plays the bass drum, gong, and chimes.

“You have to make quick changes from instrument to instrument,” she noted.

Her road to the Homecoming court was rather unique. Jocelyn Elzer, who’s known Chloe since the two were four-years-old, started a Twitter campaign to have Chloe’s name placed on the ballot for Homecoming .

Both Chloe and her parents were excited when the Homecoming court was announced several weeks ago. Chloe said that she was honored but also excited to have several of her friends among the 10 girls named to the Homecoming court.

 

2014 Homecoming Queen Danielle Ober (left) presents flowers to Honor Attendant, Anna Burkhart. (Photo by Mike Shull)

2014 Homecoming Queen Danielle Ober (left) presents flowers to Honor Attendant, Anna Burkhart. (Photo by Mike Shull)

 

“Not only was this a great honor for Chloe, but I’ve been a band mom for nine years and can’t remember the last time that a band girl was on the Homecoming court,” Anne Phillips said.

Homecoming was celebrated with an array of activities including Spirit Week dress up days, a pep rally, the Homecoming football game on Friday and a Homecoming dance at the high school cafeteria on Saturday. Chloe’s escort for the football game was long-time friend and fellow marching band member Scott Johnson, who is also the band’s drum major.

For Chloe, Friday was filled with joyous surprises. Her sister, Siena, a senior at IUP who will be serving in the Marine Corps after graduation in May, came home to cheer her on. As the girls and their escorts made their way to the field during the Homecoming game, Chloe admitted that she was a bit nervous; she even had her fingers crossed as they were making the announcement that Anna Burkhart was selected as the queen’s Honor Attendant.

When her name was announced as queen, Chloe said that she was stunned.

“It was awesome,” she said.

 

Manheim Central’s Chloe Phillips received a huge ovation from the Manheim crowd and a big hug from her Homecoming dance escort, Tommy Levosky when her name was announced. (Photo by Alan Johnson)

Manheim Central’s Chloe Phillips received a huge ovation from the Manheim crowd and a big hug from her Homecoming dance escort, Tommy Levosky when her name was announced. (Photo by Alan Johnson)

 

Perhaps the best part was the cheer that arose from the Baron Nation (the student section) as they chanted her name.

“It was amazing the hear that. It showed just how much Chloe is appreciated by her fellow students,” Eric Phillips said. “In fact, she was voted in the yearbook as ‘most likely to bring a smile to your face.’”

For Chloe, the excitement was only beginning. She was crowned by last year’s queen, and good friend, Danielle Ober. She was also congratulated by her former aide Michele Dixon, who Chloe describes as “her second mom.” And although the football team suffered a loss to Lampeter-Strasburg, for Chloe, her parents and friends, the game was a winner.

Saturday was just as exciting for Chloe. The Phillips’ home is on Market Square, and the family had a front-row seat for the 15th annual Cruisin’ the Square car show hosted by the Manheim Downtown Development, which Eric Phillips helped found. Since the family volunteers with Stiegel Glassworks 1976, hand-blown glass items were offered for sale on their front porch. Wearing her crown, Chloe greeted friends and checked out the cars on display.

 

Chloe (and an unnamed admirer) posed with Tow Mater at Crusin' the Square on Saturday.

Chloe (and an unnamed admirer) posed with Tow Mater at Crusin’ the Square on Saturday. (MDDG photo)

 

Her escort for the Homecoming dance was Tommy Levosky, a fellow member of the Special Olympics swim team. “We had dinner with my parents at a restaurant; Tommy and I had our own table. Then my dad drove us to the dance, and we had a great time there,” Chloe said beaming. Over 600 students attended the event.

She said that on Monday at school students came up to her and congratulated her throughout the day.

“I can check one thing off my bucket list. One of the questions we were asked for the Homecoming court is what was on our bucket list — I said being named Homecoming queen,” Chloe chuckled.

Her next goal is to take the training required to be a global messenger for Special Olympics. She’s also in the process of selecting a college.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.

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