BRACKETTVILLE - Stella Campos had a marring and magical experience at her high school football stadium. Rarely are there good reports of students encountering positive situations under the high school bleachers. The Campos story is different.
Mary Campos said her youngest daughter was born with down syndrome. It wasn't her only ailment.
"She had two holes in her heart," Mary said. "She had what they called Hirchsprung disease."
Hirschsprung disease affects the large intestine because the child is missing nerve cells in the muscle of the colon. Defecating becomes problematic for those who have the condition. None of Stella's health issues became an obstacle.
"She's been in school since she was three years old . Been involved in a lot of activities. Now, it's the flag girls," Mary said.
There's another woman in Stella's life named Mary. Her teacher's aide at Brackettville High School, Mary Payne, is very attached to the 17-year-old senior.
In October, Payne read a school email she thought had Stella's name written all over it.
"I asked Stella would you like to like to be a homecoming queen?" Payne said.
Stella said yes. She is well known by the students who often see the teen talking to imaginary friends.
Her support to make it to the homecoming court was very real. Stella was nominated by the student body to run for homecoming queen.
Her mother, teacher and others got busy with a campaign to see the Brackettville teen win the crown.
"I wanted her to win not because she's a down syndrome girl," Payne said. "I wanted her to win because she's a beautiful person."
They campaigned. Stella rode in the homecoming parade. Her favorite colors are pink and lime green. She selected a green gown to wear on the field at Tiger stadium to hear the results.
"I still kept telling her---Stella you may not win," Mary said.
Stella stood on the field with her escort. The results were announced but she didn't win. The special needs student was visibly upset. Payne broke into tears.
"Estella is the first student in Brackett ISD who is special needs that had come up this far," Payne said.
They moved off the field to console Stella as the new homecoming queen was crowned. Traditionally, the former homecoming queen does the honor. This October night was no exception.
Texas State University freshman Blake Warren saw the impact the loss was having on Stella and her loved ones. The teen homecoming princess even refused to take pictures..
"I talked to my mom about getting my crown and giving it her," Blake said. "Because it kinda sat in my room."
Warren went home to get her crown, she approached Team Stella and asked if she could make a royal gesture.
"She came over and she had this crown," Mary said.
Blake put the crown on Stella's head under the bleachers at the football stadium.
"I knew if I would give it to her it would mean something more." Blake said. "So by giving it to her I knew she would remember it for the rest of her life."
Stella went from homecoming princess to a queen. The newly-crowned queen, by the way, was ready to take pictures and would not take off her crown.
"She was a queen that night," Payne said. "In my eyes she was still a queen."
Blake's compassion made her an instant family friend.
"She's got a good heart. A very good heart," Mary said.
In fact, among Stella's invisible friends, she talks to one named Blake.
Stella is scheduled to graduate in May.
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