Homecoming king at Kulm school gets fellow candidates’ votesAll three candidates for homecoming king at Kulm High School wanted the same candidate to win, and, after a bit of quiet campaigning, they got their wish.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
KULM, N.D. — All three candidates for homecoming king at Kulm High School wanted the same candidate to win, and, after a bit of quiet campaigning, they got their wish.
Curtis Fregien, 19, of Jud, was voted homecoming king in a landslide, receiving two votes for each single vote cast for the other two teens.
“My friends are my friends, and I try to help them,” said Fregien, whose Down syndrome does not stop him from working out football and basketball plays for his classmates.
Fregien, the son of Lonnie and Connie Fregien of Jud, is an accomplished athlete in his own right, and participates in Special Olympics basketball and lifts weights. He also enjoys skiing, tubing, waterskiing and hunting deer, geese and ducks.
After he graduates, he intends to farm with his parents, but also expressed an interest in coaching basketball or football some day.
He was “pretty dang happy” to be named homecoming king during a ceremony recently.
The other candidates were pretty dang happy too. Nathan Elhard, 17, son of Mark and Shar Elhard of rural Jud, and Alex Lindgren, 17, son of Harv and Marvel Elhard of rural Kulm, had been rooting for Fregien.
“Curt’s everybody’s friend. He always comes to our football games and always tells us we’re going to win,” Lindgren said. “He always supports us, so we figured we’d make his year.”
Elhard and Lindgren wanted Fregien to win the honors, and both of them did a bit of quiet campaigning for their friend.
“We just told people it would be cool to have Curt be king,” Elhard said.
Because Kulm High School is so small, it functions as a family unit, said Derrick Bopp, its principal and athletic director.
The 13-person senior class is especially tightly-knit, and the three king candidates have known each other since they were kindergarteners or even longer.
“Curt’s always been like a brother to us, like a big brother to everybody,” Lindgren said. “It wouldn’t be the same without him in high school.”
Fregien is well-known for supporting his classmates, but they too support him — the whole school participated in a pep rally for his Special Olympics efforts, and many of them also turned up to watch him play basketball.
As king, Fregien got to sit on the king-and-queen float in Kulm’s homecoming parade and throw candy alongside homecoming queen Megan Haag. The other queen candidates were Brianca Kromlich and Kirsten Berntson.
The 13 members of the senior class also got to choose a first-grade student to become homecoming princess, and another to serve as prince. The prince bears the crown and the princess bears the tiara for the queen. Noah Klusmann was chosen as the prince.
As princess, the seniors selected Faith Saenz, who lives with her foster parents, Tad and Krista Anderson of Kulm.
Saenz has spina bifida. For the crowning ceremony, her wheelchair was decorated with sparkling fabric that matched her satiny white princess gown.
“She was just beaming that day, she was so excited,” said Tom Nitschke, Kulm superintendent. “For those kids to pick her out of all the kids they’ve known all their lives, that was pretty tremendous.”
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at klucin@ jamestownsun.com