[Whitney] Kropp said last month she was initially surprised to learn that her classmates nominated her to be in the running for her school's homecoming queen. But she said she soon felt humiliated and betrayed when she found out that it was all a joke.
"People had bullied on me, I guess, for my looks, how I did my hair, how I dress, my height, so I guess they thought, you know, maybe someone that is different is someone that's an easy target," Kropp said.
But, Kropp said she pulled through with the support of her mother and the rest of the town.
"You want to protect your kid, and you feel angry and mad at what has happened, but at the same time the outpouring to help her has been beyond expected," Kropp's mother Bernice Kropp said.
Word spread quickly through the community of about 2,100 residents in West Branch. Resident Jamie Kline started a Facebook support page, gaining more than 4,000 likes in Michigan and nationwide. Personal stories of bullying and messages of encouragement filled the page.
A salon owner in West Branch donated service to cut, color and style Kropp's hair, and other local businesses paid for her dinner, gown, shoes and tiara for the dance.
Kropp was greeted with thunderous applause and the flashes of cameras from the home and visiting teams and fans.