Northwest’s Destiny Freeland, courageous battler of Ewing’s sarcoma, crowned princess at homecoming

Submitted photo Freeland (left) and Hall (right), crowned queen and princess of Northwest

Submitted photo Freeland (left) and Hall (right), crowned queen and princess of Northwest

By Joseph Pratt

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Friday night was more than a landslide win of 41 to nothing for the Northwest Mohawks, it was the night senior Abby Hall had been dreaming of since she was young, and a reminder of how strong the Mohawk bond truly is.

Hall invested a lot of time looking for the dream dress, taking the time to look perfect, and preparing herself to be crowned as the homecoming queen of Northwest’s class of 2016. What she hadn’t been planning on since childhood, was sharing the crown with young seventh grade student Destiny Freeland, who was crowned the school’s first homecoming princess.

The seventh grade Freeland has been courageously battling Ewing’s sarcoma and has had trouble making it to school every day. Despite missing classes here and there, she still maintains a huge network of friends and supporters. This huge network of support is district-wide, present even in the high school levels.

Some of the students have recently been thinking of ways to honor her and remind her that she is one of Scioto County’s best, when they decided to crown her as princess. Abby Hall, elected homecoming queen, fell in love with the idea of sharing the royalty with her younger friend and said it made the experience much more special for her.

“One of our tremendous football players was really determined to have a recognition for Destiny and it just grew from that,” Jason Burton, vice principal of Northwest High School, said. “Queen Abby Hall happened to be with me one day, working on homecoming events, when he showed up to talk about Destiny. Abby then suggested we crown her as princess and let her attend the dance; it eventually just blossomed into letting her be a part of the entire ceremony.”

Burton says he isn’t surprised by all of the support the school district has given Destiny, saying the students are constantly lending support to each other.

“We have great students here who are often concerned for one another,” Burton said. “It did not surprise me at all that Abby was going to allow this young lady to be a part of the homecoming festivities, because our students are very caring. Despite our large district, and not having a defined single community, our kids really unite and show support for each other.”

Burton said the football game didn’t come with the largest of crowds, but he had never seen so much support and cheer in them prior to Freeland and Hall crossing the field.

“It was a very rainy and cold, cold Friday night,” Burton said. “We didn’t have a huge crowd, but the people who were present were very deeply touched by our queen’s invitation to Destiny. We even had the people in the stands rising to their feet and cheering on Destiny as she crossed the field. We had many teary-eyed folks, including myself.”

Hall said that she had a great time experiencing high school royalty and enjoyed having a partner to experience it with even more.

“I am very grateful to have had the experience of representing the Northwest class of 2016 and I’m honored to have received it,” Hall said. “I think everyone should have the chance to experience what I did and I am glad to have welcomed Destiny to join me.”

Freeland’s mother, Misty Stevens, said she is very proud of her daughter and watching her cross the field to be crowned was very emotional.

Freeland says she loves her “sparkly” crown and is very grateful for the experience.

“I think being crowned was my favorite part, but I had a lot of fun the whole time. I had to pick out a dress and I got to be with a lot of my cheer friends,” Freeland said. “I am honored by it all.”

Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.

Submitted photo Freeland (left) and Hall (right), crowned queen and princess of Northwest photo Freeland (left) and Hall (right), crowned queen and princess of Northwest