Last Wednesday I shared with you the touching story of Michigan’s Whitney Kropp. Miss Kropp is the 16-year-old high school student whose classmates attempted to embarrass her by nominating the sophomore to the school’s homecoming court.
Instead, the so-called “prank” turned her into something of a national celebrity.
Miss Kropp’s community rallied to her side. A Facebook page created to express support generated over 125,000 “likes.” The cost of her dress, shoes and flowers were covered by local merchants. A hair salon offered to style her hair for free.
Homecoming was this past Saturday night, and Whitney Kropp shined. She attended with her date and reported having a wonderful time. Even better, she said the incident taught her some valuable lessons.
Even after receiving all of the support, Whitney said she considered not attending the dance. It almost seemed too much. But in the end, she decided to face down her fears.
Miss Kropp attended, she said, because it’s important to “not let them (the bullies) bring you down.” She went on to say, “Stand up for what you believe in and go with your heart and go with your gut. That’s what I did, and look at me now. I’m just as happy as can be!”
Many of you shared your thoughts on the news this past week in this space by recalling some very personal (and sometimes painful) memories of being picked on. Thank you for taking the time to dialogue with us. My heart goes out to anyone who is treated with disrespect, especially a young person.
Karen wrote, “This young woman will not forget this experience, but God can turn this into good!”
Karen is right! We’re not always given the opportunity to see situations redeemed so quickly, but in this case we were given that gift.
On a related note, I had previously mentioned that Miss Kropp was going to get her hair done by a business called the “Whit’s End Hair Salon.” At the time I wondered if there was any connection to Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey.
Wouldn’t you know – there is! Whitney Shoemaker is the proprietor and a big fan of the award-winning audio series. She used to listen to the show as a young girl. When she heard about the incident, she immediately wanted to reach out to Miss Kropp out of a deep spirit of Christian compassion. It should give us all a lift to know there are wonderful people like Whitney Shoemaker in this country.
Oh, and one more thing. When Whitney and her husband opened up the Whit’s End Salon they were required to have it inspected according to Michigan law.
Guess what the name of the inspector was.
You’ll never guess.