ST. GEORGE — With eyes twinkling behind her glasses, Madi Sonju blew a kiss to her Deseret Hills High School classmates when her name was announced as a homecoming queen finalist.
She put a pudgy hand to her mouth and burst into tears when she heard her named called again a few seconds later as the 2011 queen. And getting a boost to place the tiara on her head was last year's homecoming queen, her older but shorter sister, Macey.
Both girls beamed as the crowd at Friday night's football game cheered and applauded.
"I can't believe the student body at Desert Hill High. They have been absolutely so supportive of my girls," said their mother Leslye Sonju. "To have them recognized like this is just a dream come true for both of them."
The Sonju sisters were born with Down syndrome.
"It feels so good," Madi said afterward still clutching the flower bouquet Macey placed in her arms.
Asked how long she had wanted to be homecoming queen, Madi said "forever."
The girls' father, Bob Sonju, called this year's and last year's homecoming events special moment in his daughter's lives. He said he can't say enough about the students, faculty and administrators at Desert Hills.
"They just include our kids in everything," he said.
Both girls have been active in school programs including dance classes and cheer. Macey graduated this past year.