Prom with a message: ‘Real friends don’t count extra chromosomes’


GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) — With prom season underway, many students are picking out dresses and tuxes and choosing who they’ll ask to the big dance. But one couple in Waupaca has been planning for a year.

“We went on a field trip to Madison I got paired up to be his partner, and from then on we were super close,” said Mikenzy Snell, a junior at Waupaca High School.

That was in the fifth grade, and that’s how a special friendship started with Mikenzy Snell and Matt Pliska.

“He’s such a positive person,” said Snell. “He always has a smile on his face.”

“How do you describe Mikenzy?” I asked Matt.

He replied, “Honestly, I love.”

Matt has Down syndrome and is also six years out from a battle with leukemia, but that didn’t stop the two from having a blast as this year’s prom — a date one year in the making.

“I went to prom last year, and the day of prom last year he asked me if I would go with him this year,” said Snell, “so we had it planned for a full year.”

One memory from prom is a picture where they hold a sign saying, “Real friends don’t count extra chromosomes.”

“I just feel like it really shows our friendship to the next level of where it actually is but people might not see behind closed doors,” said Snell.

That night, Matt was even elected to prom court.

“It’s fun to experience that for them because they’re so happy,” said Snell, “and Matt, he’s the king in all of our eyes.”

Besides tearing up the dance floor and the occasional bowling alley, Matt is involved in everything he can be at school.

Matt is the team manager for the boy’s hockey team and the girl’s soccer team.

“When you have a child that has a disability, they tell you they’re not going to do this, you’re not going to do that,” said Matt’s Mom, Flonnie Pliska, “then you turn around and you watch when they’re growing up.”

Mikenzy says she hopes to have a career working with those with disabilities, and no matter where that takes her she’s sure she and Matt will stay close friends.

“I think it’ll be a forever friendship,” said Snell.

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