Photo Credit to Taylor Fikes
“I would be so excited, raising the roof,” Spencer Kirkpatrick said the weekend prior to being elected Mississippi State University’s Homecoming King.
When Tupelo native, Spencer Kirkpatrick was born, he was diagnosed with Down syndrome, when he was 10 weeks old he had open-heart surgery, and growing up teachers would tell his father, Kevan Kirkpatrick, it would be hard for him to learn with his disability. Luckily, they were wrong and Spencer defied the odds.
A lifelong MSU fan, Spencer knew where he always wanted to go to college. He graduated from Tupelo High School in 2016 and was accepted to enroll in the ACCESS program, a four-year, non-degree program for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities, at the university of his dreams – Mississippi State.
“I was so excited when I got my acceptance letter to MSU,” Spencer said during a recent interview. He was getting to live out his dreams, but never did anyone think he would go as far as running for Homecoming King his senior year.
“Six years ago, we couldn’t conceive of him even going to college…,” Kevan Kirkpatrick said. “…much less running for Homecoming King…..and he actually won… Sometimes I think it still is beyond comprehension!”
Spencer, his family, and friends all knew this was going to be such an exciting time for him – getting to go to college and learn to be independent, but winning Homecoming King was such an amazing victory and also a part of his big dream as a bulldog.
“For him to represent MSU as Homecoming King, it’s part of his dream that is coming true,” his father said. “When he won, we were just so happy for him. And also happy for all of his friends that joined together to help in his campaign. They are truly celebrating Spencer for who he is.”
Spencer is involved in many things across campus, from Service Dawgs volunteer, Intramural sports, Unified Egg Bowl and Basketball to being a friendly joyful smile to anyone who crosses his path.
“He is always smiling when you see him, you could be having the worst day, but when you run into Spencer, your mood changes,” an MSU student said in a previous interview.
The support and love that the Kirkpatrick family has received during this time have been very much appreciated by all.
“The love, support, and respect that’s been shown toward him has melted our hearts,” Mr. Kevan said. “To know that he’s been so accepted into the Mississippi State family just reaffirms ours and his decisions to apply for and join the ACCESS Program.”
Spencer has always been involved and loved to be around people and meet as many new friends as possible.
Spencer will represent Mississippi State University as their king and Rachel Dumke as queen in their game against Abilene Christian on November 23rd, 2019.