NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

May 22, 2013

A crowning moment

Classmates make night extra-special for 'prom prince'

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — For most high school students, prom night is one of the most memorable nights of the year, but thanks to the efforts of friends and family, one local special needs student was given a night he won’t forget for the rest of his life.

Logan Nyman, 17, is an Amesbury High School junior who struggles with developmental delays, particularly in language. While his disability is undiagnosed, his condition is similar to autism and he has difficulty verbally communicating.

Given his condition, Logan’s mother Allyson worried that he wouldn’t get to experience prom like everyone else his age, but this past Friday, he was able to attend the Amesbury High prom after his older sister Abby flew up from Florida to escort him, and to make the night extra special, his friends helped create a title for him so he’d be included in the crowning ceremonies.

“Just having him attend was a big deal for our family,” Nyman said. “His peers took it upon themselves, one peer in particular named Shane Hague, to create a title ‘prom prince’ to crown Logan. They made a sash, got a crown, and got the staff on board.”

Nyman said it was particularly meaningful to see Logan go to prom because of the memories she has from her own prom night, which she attended with her future husband, and getting to see her daughter attend two years in a row was special too.

So, when prom season came around this year, Nyman said even if Logan did want to go -- which he didn’t seem to care too much about at first — there was still the matter of who would be his date.

She asked around to see if there was anyone who Logan could go with, and when that didn’t work out she called Hague, a senior who originally got to know Logan through a gym class he helped teach, to see if there were any guys without dates who Logan could tag along with.

Finally, Nyman talked to Abby, who is three years older than Logan and is currently living on an Air Force base in Florida with her husband.

“Her husband is amazing,” Nyman said. “He just said, ‘I’ll buy you a ticket so you can go home,’ so she flew down, spent the weekend and it worked out perfect.”

Once it became apparent that Logan would be attending prom, Hague decided to find a way to make the night special for him. He spoke to Barbara Perry, who had been the main teacher for the gym class he helped teach, and she asked if he could figure out a way to have Logan named prom king.

“I thought that was going to be a stretch because people might think its biased because he’s special needs,” Hague said. “So I told her that, and she said, ‘see what you can do.’”

Instead, Hague came up with the idea for Logan to be named prom prince. He talked to the teachers who were judging, and they loved the idea. So he went and bought Logan a sash and crown, and then told Logan’s family his plan so they’d know what was going on.

“When he got it, everyone went wild,” Hague said. “They started announcing the prom king, queen and court, and when they said ‘And our prom prince, Logan Nyman,’ everyone started screaming and chanting ‘Logan! Logan!’”

Due to his good nature, Hague said everyone loves Logan and he is very popular with his classmates. After the announcement, he said Logan didn’t stop smiling for the rest of the night.

The way Logan responded to the event was also a pleasant surprise for his family because of his tendency to be quiet and reserved. But despite a mishap early in the evening where he spilled soda on his sister’s dress, he eventually warmed up and started to tear up the dance floor.

“When we went to pick them up, we got there early so he didn’t have to deal with the crush of kids coming out,” Nyman said. “But he was still on the dance floor, so we had to wait.”

Nyman said afterwards that she was glad Logan went and that he would have gone back the next day if given the chance. As far as senior prom goes, Nyman said they’d cross that bridge when they come to it, but for this year she was really happy that Logan had fun -- and she is really grateful that Hague and the rest of the school community went out of their way to make the night extra special.

“I think in general, the kids should be aware of how much that means to someone like Logan,” Nyman said. “Shane doing that for him, it was probably a small thing for Shane, but it was a huge thing for us.”