Wisconsin teen to take Miss Minnesota to prom


Miss Minnesota USA Danielle Hooper will be the prom date of a Menomonie, Wis., teen, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reports.

Hooper, 20, of Inver Grove Heights and a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, says it is an honor. She works part-time at UW-Stout's financial aid office with a woman who has a child on the same Special Olympics team as 18-year-old Charlie Gainey, who has Down syndrome.

Gainey was nominated to the prom court at Menomonie High School, and Hooper's co-worker suggested the beauty queen be his date. "She asked me about it, and I thought it would be such a great opportunity," Hooper told the Leader-Telegram.

Hooper, who was selected as Miss Minnesota USA in November, has a 2-year-old niece with Down syndrome.

Gainey has a full day planned for Saturday. Before the dance, he's competing in a Special Olympics swim meet, then dinner with Miss Minnesota and a night of dancing, the Leader-Telegram reports.

Charlie's mother, Anne Gainey, says she and her husband, Dan, "just want this experience to be very memorable; where it's no different than anyone else going to the prom," the Leader-Telegram reports.

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