Emily Pennington Starts Her Senior Year at Billings West
She's just excited for everything. She's excited for the first day of school. She's excited to cheer as a senior. She's excited to get her senior pictures taken. She's excited for everything that IS her senior year. That's because Emily Pennington almost didn't get a senior year.
We got a great phone call from Jana Pennington, Emily's mom. Emily is the Billings West High School cheerleader with Down Syndrome who won a hard fought battle with the Billings School District 2 school board. She got national attention on Fox & Friends. Rachel Campos-Duffy opened up the segment by reporting how "her (Emily's) entire community and a US senator are rallying behind her."
Because she would've aged out at the start of her senior year, the board was not going to allow her to finish her senior year and graduate high school with her friends. For several months the school district and the school board stonewalled the Pennington family- until public pressure forced a change in policy.
Jana Pennington called us Tuesday morning, as Emily started her senior year, to thank everyone who fought for her:
Jana Pennington: I just wanted to call and just say thank you. I wish you could have seen her. She's been practicing all summer long for cheer. She has her first football game this Friday at Daylis. But she couldn't be more happy to be able to attend, and again, it's just thanks to you and your support, and everyone in the community who rally together to help her and so, yeah, it's been a great day for us. So I was just calling in to let everyone know again that you still mean so much to us and so much to Emily.
Congrats to Emily and her friends on a great start to your senior year. We look forward to cheering you on as you cheer on your team.