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A special night for a special prom queen

A Catawba County high schooler winning her dream of becoming homecoming queen. But what makes this story special, Marlee’s sister tells was born with Down Syndrome.
Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 11:14 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Catawba County high schooler winning her dream of becoming homecoming queen. But what makes this story special, Marlee’s sister tells was born with Down Syndrome. Despite the many obstacles Marlee has overcome throughout her 18 years she always has a sweet smile to share with everyone she meets.

“The 2021 senior class has selected as their homecoming queen…” A booming voice came over the football stadium’s loudspeaker.

It can be the dream of any high school student. Serving on the homecoming court and maybe even being queen. But for one young woman, it was a moment in time she will never forget.

“Marley Kale!” the crowd chanted.

“It was the coolest thing, I mean you just got goosebumps.”

Neely Barham is Marlee Kale’s sister and describes the feeling when Marlee’s name was announced as prom queen at Friday’s homecoming game.

“It was a dream, I mean she totally embraced it, she started bowing and curtsying. Blowing kisses and everybody stood up on their feet and started cheering for her.” Barham said.

Marlee is an eighteen-year-old senior at Saint Stevens High School in Hickory. She also has Downs Syndrome. Even though it can be a hard thing to deal with, her sister says it’s her attitude that draws people to her.

“She is the sweetest person you’ll ever meet. She’s always in a good mood. She loves to talk to anyone who will talk to her. She never meets a stranger and she’s been like that since birth.” Barham told WBTV.

Last Friday, the senior class elected her homecoming queen. An honor she took gracefully, along with several bows along with chants of her name. And while it came to a surprise to her family, her sister says it wasn’t a surprise to Marlee.

“I think she already thought of herself as the queen so, she thought that was winning just being a part of it. So the queen part was just icing on the cake.” Her sister said.

A memory this young Queen will have for years to come.

“We’ll hear from her about it for a very long time and she’s never going to forget it and she’s never going to let us forget it that she’s the queen.”

Marlee’s sister said whatever she decides to do, she’ll do it with a smile on her face.

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