PARK CITY, Utah. — On Saturday night, CJ Haerter and Ava Jennings were crowned King and Queen of the Park City High School Prom. Haerter, 18, who was born and raised in Park City, has Down Syndrome.
The in-person students erupted with full-throated support, delight, and vicarious bliss at the royal reveal. Jennings and Haerter have been friends since having first met when they were three years old. No teachers or staff among the Park City School District were surprised as Haerter has touched the hearts and minds of countless Park City locals via his attendance at McPolin Elementary, Trailside Elementary, the Park City Co-Op, Ecker Hill Middle School, Treasure Mountain Jr. High, and The Park City High School.
Haerter said his favorite part of the Prom was, “Hanging out with Ava.”
The Lucky Ones Coffee Shop, housed in the Park City Library building, counts CJ as one of its most dedicated employees.
When Haerter plays sports, he is competitive but he never puts someone else down, he only wants to lift everyone up with him. He’s competed in the Special Olympics USA earning seven medals throughout his thriving athletic career. Haerter is heavily involved at the National Ability Center (NAC) where he takes lessons in road biking, mountain biking, and skiing along with being on the Bike Flyers and the Ski Flyers Teams. He is also on the Swim Team for the Municipal Athletic Recreation Center (MARC.) Additionally, Haerter plays baseball, basketball and as his mom, “Muggins” says, “He also plays a mean corn hole game!”
Muggins also said, “CJ has a genuine soul, he’s very kind and is always inclusive. he has infectious energy when he enters a room. He seems to pull every age group from the smallest child to an older adult. I guess you could say he lights up a room when he enters it.” Haerter’s middle school special ed. teacher Ms. Fitz put it best when she said that her New Year’s resolution was to “be more like CJ.”
Muggins, CJ’s father Chris, and his sisters Natalie and Rachel couldn’t be more proud of this wonderful honor with which his peers have recognized CJ and Jennings.
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