Josh Sylvie got one of the biggest thrills of his life on Friday afternoon.
That’s when the 18-year-old senior from North Riverside was crowned as the 2014 homecoming king at Riverside-Brookfield High School.
“I was so surprised,” Sylvie told the Landmark. “It was great. I was so happy.”
What made the moment even more special for many is that Josh has Down syndrome, a genetic abnormality that typically limits cognitive development.
But Josh hasn’t let that interfere with his ability to make friends, enjoy life and generally be a bright light to those around him.
Josh is active at RBHS in the Best Buddies program. He also participates in Special Olympics track and basketball. He delivers mail at the school and works with Shredder Works, a business operated by special education students. He also has a job folding towels three days a week at the Oak Brook Hilton Hotel.
“This kid just exemplifies Bulldog spirit,” said RBHS social worker Mari Mortensen, the chief sponsor of the RBHS Best Buddies Club. “Once some kids started circulating his name, it kind of took off like wildfire. It would not have of happened if he was just any kid. He’s very active in things. He’s very positive. He’s fun. He goes to everything. He really kind of won fair and square.”
The homecoming king and queen are voted upon by the entire student body. Senior Kate Kosner, a member of the RBHS cheerleading squad, was selected as homecoming queen.
Josh’s mother and father, Alisa and Dan Sylvie, his grandparents and an aunt were all at the pep assembly on Sept. 19 where the winners were announced and the king and queen were crowned.
“We were very surprised and thrilled that all the kids thought that much of him to do that,” Alisa Sylvie said. “I think highly of RB; the staff, the students, and they were just great. They’ve really made his high school days at RB great. The kids have been fantastic to him.”