Merritt Island homecoming king gives crown and sash to classmate


MERRITT ISLAND, Florida. –James Verpaele’s thoughtfulness stood out Friday night in his final home football game at Merritt Island High School.

The senior student was crowned homecoming king, but hundreds of students and parents watched as he handed his crown and sash to classmate Parks Finney.

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“All the senior guys got together, and we kind of all agreed that Parks should get it – that we would give it to Parks after we figured out who would be king,” the 17-year-old said.

When Finney was asked what he said to Verpaele after his gesture of kindness, he said he was shocked and thanked him.

It was an emotional night for Amy Finney, whose son was born with a condition known as periventricular leukomalacia or PVL. It was a brain injury that 19-year-old Parks Finney suffered at birth.

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

Despite his son’s state of health, this did not prevent him from being a welcoming and lively young man.

“He can strike up a conversation, he’s funny, he’s a nice guy and he’s the mayor. He’s Mr. Mayor, that’s what we call him,” Verpaele said. “He’s like a brother to all of us.”

For Parks Finney’s mother, who is also a high school English teacher, the gesture is an example that everyone can emulate.

“I would first like to thank the young men here at Merritt Island High School for including it and I think the message that comes out of that is that people are people and they are accepting and kind,” a- she declared. said.


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