It was Friday, Sept. 13 that Winfield High School students were able to show their true colors to the community. Every year Homecoming is a time that students look forward to as they are getting back into the swing of things. The week kicks off with spirit days, which is a friendly competition between the classes to earn points towards winning the week’s events. These days lead up to the Homecoming parade and football game which the school and local residents come out to support.
This year there was something different…as halftime neared and parents of the Homecoming court lined up to join their children at the center of the football field, you could tell that something big was planned. For the Queen candidate, Cailyn Hoelting was announced as the winner as she graciously accepted her crown. The crowd went silent as they waited for the King to be revealed. It wasn’t a neck and neck race for the King position, it was a landslide win as Jed Hemmer, a 17 year old senior, threw his hands into the air with enthusiasm as his name was read over the intercom. There wasn’t a dry eye in sight as his mother and father, Paula and Tony Hemmer, hugged him.
It was a sight to see as Jed was given a standing ovation and the whole football team lined up to congratulate him with hand shakes and hugs. Beaming with excitement, Jed adjusted his crown and reigned as King over the rest of the Homecoming football game and the Homecoming dance with Cailyn Hoelting, the queen, by his side.
Who is Jed Hemmer? He is a friendly face in the community, and an inspiration to all! Jed has Down Syndrome but he doesn’t let his disabilities define who he is, and neither do his classmates. Jed is a senior at Winfield High School and is truly loved in the community. He doesn’t seem to know a stranger as he walks down the halls and greets everyone during school.
“It’s overwhelming how much support his class has given him his whole life and that they have taken such good care of him while he is at school,” said Tony Hemmer, Jed’s father. “Even when we are out in other communities, there is always someone who knows Jed and wants to say hi.”
Jed loves to clean his room and make it spotless while he is at home and helps to take care of the family’s animals, especially his dog, Joe. His favorite part about school is learning math and being in Mrs. Tarpein’s cooking classes. He enjoys drinking Mountain Dew and eating supreme pizza and chips just like any other teenager and is looking forward to graduation this year.
Jed isn’t just active in school, he also understands what it means to be a hard worker. Jed is employed part time at County Market in Winfield. He began his career bagging groceries for others while his mother shopped in the store. Years of helping soon paid off as he was offered a job. Jed takes pride in his work and always gives 100 percent in whatever he does.
Jed is the son of Tony and Paula Hemmer and the brother of Jeremiah, Zach, Isaiah, and Meraiah Hemmer.
Jed was more than ecstatic to be able to wear the Homecoming King crown and takes care of it by placing it on top of his entertainment center in his bedroom where he keeps all of his favorite things. “I had fun being King. I started to cry when I heard my name,” Jed explained. “I was happy that Cailyn was queen. We get to come back next year and do it again.”
“I didn’t expect to win, but I was happy to be on court with my good friends,” said Cailyn Hoelting. “I’m just really happy that Jed got to have the experience. I was happier for him than I was for myself that night.”
Cailyn Hoelting is the daughter of Corey and Carrie Hoelting, of Winfield. She is active in FBLA, Club 21, Student Council, Science Club, Softball and is senior class president. She plans to attend college and pursue a career in accounting.