MANSFIELD, LA (WKOW) -- A teen with autism has always been the big man on campus at his Louisiana high school. But now he's getting more attention than ever before. That's because he was recently crowned the school's Prom king.
Buddyy Evans is Mansfield High School's 2016 Prom King. His mom Laurie says, "It just brought tears to my eyes, I was just so excited."
Laurie says photos of Buddy's coronation have gone bananas on Facebook. And what mom wouldn't be proud of her Prom king? His crowning has nabbed more than 5,000 likes, 1,500 shares and countless messages. "Telling me how much an inspiration it was to see a child with autism go to the prom and win prom king."
Budd was diagnosed with autism at age five. But now? Before the big night, Laurie wanted to find a symbolic suit for her son. Some joked it looked like a Rubik's Cube. "I didn't see the Rubik's Cube. I saw the colors of autism. I wanted a jacket made of puzzle pieces which represent autism."
According to the National Autism Society, the puzzle piece pattern represents the complexity of the autism spectrum. This wasn't just another senior prom suit. "It represents what he went through from kindergarten all the way up."
According to the National Autism Association, Buddy is part of the roughly 40% of children with autism who don't speak. Buddy's been embraced despite being non-verbal. "The last four years of high school, I think those have been the best years for him because he's interacted so much more with kids."
And if you think Buddy's crowning is a gesture of pity, think again. Buddy is the man at Mansfield High. "They all know him. Everywhere we go. 'Hey Buddy?'. We could be in the store, the girls, even the little girls be like 'hey Buddy' and I be like Buddy you know them?"
Some parents with a child with autism might see earning Prom kin as a cherry on top. But Laurie Evans? "No, I think there's much more to come. It's much more to come. God has so much more for him."
That includes graduating from Mansfield High School on May 13. Right now, he's being treated like a king.