High school can sometimes feel more like a jungle than a place of learning. Students are sorted and segregated from each other in a myriad of ways, from popular to less popular—and the court of public opinion can determine how smoothly those four defining years will go.
A few years ago, Tyrell Clay and Adam Chadwick found themselves on the opposite ends of this spectrum. While most students fall somewhere in the middle, these two were at the extremes. But all that changed.
Tyrell Clay was the ultra-popular quarterback of the high school football team, while Adam Chadwick was a social outcast who struggled to find acceptance while living with special needs.
Both students were seniors at Miller Substantial School in Corpus Christi, TX. When it came time for Prom King nominations, nobody was surprised to see Tyrell Clay on the list.
But it caught Adam Chadwick by surprise to find that he was also on the list.
Recognizing that he had few friends, and that he didn’t fit the traditional mold of a Prom King, Chadwick quickly realized that he was nominated as a joke.
“Obviously some people were just messing with me,” Adam told ABC’s Steve Hartman.
But Adam didn’t want a bunch of bullies to get the best of him—in defiance, he decided to attend prom anyway. To nobody’s surprise, Tyrell won the crown and was coronated in front of the entire senior class.
Adam was disappointed. He stood off to the side, feeling like the punchline to a cruel joke.
As Tyrell had the crown placed on his head, he couldn’t help but notice the way Adam hung his head.
“I had glanced over to Adam, he was standing up, and he was really sad. Like he was heartbroken,” Tyrell said.
That’s when he did something that took everyone by surprise. He walked over to Adam.
“They picked the wrong man,” he said.
As he placed the crown on Adam’s head, the crowd burst into a loud applause. Adam was just as shocked as they were.
“I thought I was imagining it or something,” Adam said.
Adam says that his life on campus is much easier now that he knows Tyrell has his back. Bullies have left him alone, and he brims with pride when talks about that night.
“I can walk the halls with my head held high,” Adam says.
It was a night neither of them will ever forget, but for different reasons. For Adam, it was validation and vindication for the bravery he showed. And for Tyrell, it was a night in which he sacrificed his own glory for the sake of someone in need. When asked why he gave up his crown for Adam, a boy he barely knew, Tyrell’s response was incredible.
“I don’t want to regret not doing something for someone that I could have when I had the opportunity,” he said.
Watch the video here.