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Menomonie HS student with Down syndrome get prom date with Miss. Minnesota


MENOMONIE, WI (WTAQ) - A Menomonie High School junior with Down’s syndrome will take a dream date to his prom this weekend – Minnesota’s entry in the Miss USA Pageant.

18-year-old Charlie Gainey was nominated to the prom court. A friend, Julie Schultz, set him up with 20-year-old Danielle Hooper, who’s from the suburban Twin Cities and attends UW Stout as a junior in retail merchandising.

Schultz has a child who swims with Gainey on a Special Olympics team – and she works with Hooper in Stout’s financial aid office.

Hooper says she has a young cousin with Down’s syndrome – and knowing Charlie’s story encouraged her to accept the date.

Hooper won her state pageant last fall, and will represent Minnesota in the Miss USA pageant on June 16th.

Gainey says it doesn’t matter whether or not he’s elected the prom’s king. He says he’s just happy to be on the court, and to spend time with Hooper.

They’ll have dinner in Menomonie before taking part in the prom’s grand march and dance on Saturday night. He’ll wear a tuxedo from his grandfather. She plans to shop for a new dress.

Hooper said she thought about wearing the dress she wore in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant – but she said it would be “too much for prom.”