ABC News – Whitney Kropp: Bullied Michigan Teen Shines at Homecoming Game
For bullied high school sophomore Whitney Kropp, looking good was the best revenge.
Earlier this month, the West Branch, Mich., teen said she thought about killing herself after some classmates told her she was nominated to homecoming court as a joke.
On Friday, Kropp had the last laugh.
Local businesses rallied around the teen, donating her dress, shoes, jewelry, hair styling and makeup.
The 16-year-old was escorted by her father and grandfather to the field, where she confidently took her place in the Ogemaw Heights High School homecoming court.
Students on the opposing team cheered Kropp on with banners.
“It’s just so much right now for me,” Kropp said. “I had thoughts about not coming but I actually changed my mind and came out. I just thought maybe I won’t have fun. But I’m having a lot of fun right now.”
Kropp said she doesn’t know who decided to pull the cruel “prank” on her, but had a message for other students dealing with bullying.
“The kids that are bullying, do not let them bring you down,” Kropp said. “Stand up for what you believe in, and go with your heart and go with your gut. That’s what I did, and look at me now. I’m just as happy as can be.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report
AP – Community lauds victim of apparent school prank
WEST BRANCH, Mich. (AP) — A mid-Michigan community cheered on a 16-year-old sophomore — the victim of an apparent prank by classmates — as she took her place with other members of her high school’s homecoming court.
Whitney Kropp was escorted by her father and grandfather onto the Ogemaw Heights High School football field Friday night in West Branch, about 140 miles northwest of Detroit.
Kropp was named to the homecoming court of the 800-student school earlier this month, but said she felt betrayed after some students suggested her selection was a joke. She said she had been picked on in the past, but it intensified afterward.
Her story has sparked national interest and on Friday, residents and business owners in the West Branch area turned out to the game to show their support and help take a stand against bullying.
Orange T-shirts — Kropp’s favorite color — have been sold with the slogan “It’s not cool to be cruel.”
“It’s just so much right now for me,” Kropp said Friday night. “I had thoughts about not coming but I actually changed my mind and came out. I just thought maybe I won’t have fun. But I’m having a lot of fun right now.”
Her gown, jewelry, shoes, hair styling and makeup were donated.
“The kids that are bullying, do not let them bring you down,” Kropp told reporters. “Stand up for what you believe in, and go with your heart and go with your gut. That’s what I did, and look at me now. I’m just as happy as can be.”
Many in the stands, even students from visiting Cadillac, wore orange, as did Kropp.
“It wasn’t right what they did to her,” said Alexis Dahlstrom, a 16-year-old Cadillac junior. “We wanted her to know that there are people out there who support her.”
Dahlstrom and her friends learned about Kropp’s story on Facebook.
“Whitney is strong. I don’t know that I would have had the courage to go,” 15-year-old Ogemaw Heights sophomore Heather Oyster said.
Ogemaw Heights won the homecoming game, 24-21, over Cadillac.