This story has been corrected from an earlier version.
Alex Mack knew her Longview High School classmate and friend Jacob Powell wouldn’t let her down.
But merely days after suggesting to Jacob that he take her to prom, the cheerleader appeared startled when she arrived home from school Thursday to find Jacob on her doorstep and the following statement spelled out in cards on her front yard — “Cheer me up. ... Let’s go to prom.”
“Aah! I knew it!” Alex exclaimed as she hopped from the passenger seat of her mom’s SUV and ran to Jacob, who held a bouquet of lilies one hand and green-and-silver pompoms in the other hand.
“So what do you say?” Jacob asked calmly, handing her the lilies.
“Yes!” she answered.
Jacob intentionally made his elaborate prom-posal, complete with lettering provided by Card My Yard Longview, on Thursday, which was World Down Syndrome Day.
Alex was born with Down syndrome, a chromosomal disorder caused when an error in cell division results in an extra 21st chromosome — hence the designation of March 21 as World Down Syndrome Day. According to Medical News Today, there can be impairments in cognitive ability and physical growth, mild to moderate development disabilities and a higher risk of some health problems.
What hasn’t impaired Alex is any lack of friends stepping up to make her Longview High School experience different from other students, her aunt Kelly Mack said.
“She’s had a date for everything,” Kelly Mack said.
Several days ago, the two 18-year-olds were sitting in Ambucs Club at school when Alex asked Jacob if he had a date to the April 6 prom, her aunt said.
Jacob answered, “No, not yet,” to which Alex responded, “Maybe we should go to the prom together.”
Rather than give a quick response — and because it’s a Longview High School tradition that the boys ask the girls to the prom, Kelly Mack said — Jacob responded, “Well, I think maybe I need to find a clever way to ask you.”
“She’s never shy,” her mom, Lisha Mack, said.
At first, Alex said she wanted to get her prom dress at Cherry Hill in Longview.
“Do you have some designer connections?” aunt Kelly Mack asked.
Her mom said that Brandon Maxwell, an internationally sought-after fashion designer and Longview native, once told Alex that he would design a dress for her if she went to her high school prom.
“Yes! Brandon Maxwell,” she said, her eyes re-energized.