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Anderson girl gets night to remember with dream date to special needs prom

Destiny asked one of the most popular boys in school if he would be her date to prom - and he said yes.

Just a few hours ago, 17-year-old Destiny McLemore was a special needs junior from Anderson High School.

A coral dress, some glittering shoes, and one tiara later, though, and Destiny feels like a princess, ready for the time of her life.

Destiny is about to attend a right of passage for many teenagers - the prom. This prom, however, is for special needs students at Anderson High School.

"You look beautiful, Destiny," Destiny's mom Angi tells her daughter.

"Thanks," Destiny says, flashing a wide smile.

"Destiny, is this your prom dream come true?," someone asks.

"Yes," she replies.

Her friends and family, standing on the porch of her grandmother's home, all clap. And what prom dream for a princess would be complete, without the right prince at her side? 

"Why did you want to go to the prom with Grant," someone asks about the tall young man standing comfortably at Destiny's side.

"He's right choice," she replies, her speech somewhat delayed.

In many ways, it's your typical story. Girl likes boy. Girl asks boy to prom. Boy says yes.   

For Destiny, that boy is Anderson High School senior Grant Kelley, the high school mascot, soccer player, and show choir performer.

Turns out, too, that Grant is thought of by his peers as something of a prince. He was voted one two years in a row on the school's homecoming and prom court.

"He's a pretty popular kid," Destiny's mom, Angi explains.

That didn't stop Destiny from asking Grant to go with her to the special needs prom with a "promposal" on Facebook.

Destiny posted a picture of herself holding up a sign her mom helped her make that read, "Grant Kelley, will you go to my special needs prom with me?"

"Grant actually said yes to her on Facebook," Angi explains.

"He had some classmates ask him, 'Are you really going to go with her?' And his response was...I'm gonna cry," Angi says, pausing her voice, choking back a sob. "His response was 'Absolutely.' He said, 'I can't wait to have fun with her.'"

She wiped away a tear - happy tears, from the single mother.

She knows what it's like to cry the other kind, after watching her daughter be rejected because she's different.

"I've gotten used to the looks and the stares. It's hard when you see a lot of other kids doing things that your child doesn't get to do," Angi explains.

This, though, isn't one of those times.

"Every morning this week, she's woke up and asked if this is prom day," says Angi, laughing. "For her to be able to go to the prom and just have a normal night, it means a lot."

For Grant's mom, it's confirmation she's done something right.

"I'm a single mother, so I've always taught him nobody is any different than you are," says Grant's mom, Mandi.  

"What dance are you going to do with Grant tonight?" Mandi asks Destiny.

"The cha-cha slide," Destiny replies, smiling.

As Grant walks Destiny to his car and opens the door for her, it's apparent, these are just two teenagers, decked out in their finest, heading off to dance the night away.

As they enter the Anderson High School gymnasium, Destiny and Grant are greeted by friends and teachers.

"Destiny, you look beautiful" a fellow special needs student says, taking her hand in excitement.

Before long, though, Destiny and Grant are on the dance floor.

"Destiny is such a great gal. She is fun and I knew we would have a great time together," says Grant.

It's really that simple for Grant Kelley as he attends his first ever special needs prom.

"They just want to be like others," Grant explains of the students, dancing in a circle.

That Destiny chose him, though, to make her feel that way tonight, is an honor that goes far beyond the ones this popular high school senior is used to receiving.

"It made me feel special because she asked me," Grant says.

"I love Destiny.  She's a good girl," he adds, smiling.

The look on Destiny's face as Grant takes her hand to dance, says the feeling is mutual.