Acts of Kindness
Football player wins hearts when he passes homecoming crown to deserving classmate
The teen's selfless act made headlines for all the right reasons.
Irene Markianou
11.15.22

Just recently, at Merritt Island High School in Florida, everyone’s eyes welled up after the crowing of the homecoming king and queen.

Unsplash - Riley McCullough
Source:
Unsplash - Riley McCullough

You see, student James Verpaele played his last football home game and, only a while later, he was crowned homecoming king.

However, he did not keep the crown and sash for himself. He had already decided that, if he were to be crowned homecoming king, he would be giving away his title and the crown that comes with it.

YouTube - WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando
Source:
YouTube - WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando

In fact, it wasn’t only Verpaele who had decided to do that, all the nominees had sat down earlier and agreed on handing the crown to a more deserving student.

“All the senior guys got together, and we just kind of all agreed that Parks should get it — that we’d give it to Parks after we’d found out who would be king,” the 17-year-old senior told Click Orlando.

YouTube - WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando
Source:
YouTube - WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando

Parks is actually one of the most popular students at Merritt Island High School.

Although he suffers from a condition called Periventricular Leukomalacia, or PVL, this has not kept him from making friends and being “The Mayor”, as they call them.

PVL is a condition that affects fetuses and newborns, with premature babies being at greater risk.

It is caused by the lack of oxygen or blood flow that damages the brain tissue and causes developmental delays and disabilities, depending on how severe the brain damage is.

Unsplash - Christian Bowen
Source:
Unsplash - Christian Bowen

But Parks’ condition has not stopped him from caring about his classmates and being loved back by them all.

“Parks comes to all the games and most practices and cheers us on. He’s a supporter of all the athletics,” Verpaele told TODAY.

“We call him the Mayor because he knows everyone. He’ll stop and ask, ‘Do you need anything?’ ‘How are you doing?’”

So, when Verpaele was crowned, he knew what he was going to do next.

YouTube - WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando
Source:
YouTube - WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando

He walked towards his friend so that he could hand off his crown and sash to him.

Initially, Parks thought that James was approaching him for a high five or a fist bump, but when he realized what was about to happen, he lightened up.

YouTube - WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando
Source:
YouTube - WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando

Parks’ mom, Amy Finney, who is also an English teacher at the same high school, couldn’t hold back her tears when she realized how much his classmates appreciate Parks.

“You know we see a lot of a lot of criticism of teenagers, that they’re only into their phones and that they don’t care about what’s going on, but this shows that they do, and it’s the magic of teenagers and just the magic of inclusion and acceptance,” she said.

YouTube - WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando
Source:
YouTube - WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando

Parks said that he felt “happy” about Verpaele giving him his crown, and all of his family and classmates were proud of him at the end of the event.

What an amazing gesture!

YouTube - WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando
Source:
YouTube - WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando

Watch Verpaele and Finney talk about this heartwarming story in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Irene Markianou
[email protected]
Irene Markianou is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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