ORLAND PARK, Ill. — Two best friends since the age of three, who have been through so much together, won homecoming king and queen last week at Sandburg High School.
Seniors Selena Schuster and Timmy Matykiewicz have gone to homecoming every year together, despite in 2020 when it was canceled due to COVID-19.
The duo initially met when they were three at Park School’s special education program.
“Ended up putting them on a bus and next thing you know it’s senior year,” mother Amy Matykiewicz said.
Schuster and Matykiewicz were both born with cognitive impairments and their parents say the two mirror each other.
“They don’t realize they are any different, we work so hard to not make them different, make sure they are involved with regular activities,” Matykiewicz said.
One activity that has been in their lives for the past six years is baseball. Both Schuster and Matykiewicz play in the Tinley Park Bobcats’ challenger league.
“They started in seventh grade and have always been on the same team,” mother Jen Schuster said. “This program is awesome because it’s volunteers and they give so much to the kids, they get uniforms, a backpack, they help in the field.”
While playing in the fall league, an idea was sparked to try to help Schuster and Matykiewicz win Sandburg High School’s homecoming royalty. The best friends are already quite popular in the school.
“When we are out in the community all these people are saying, ‘hi Selena, hi Selena,'” Schuster said.
They were not allowed to put up signs in the hallway, but social media was up for grabs. So, family made flyers and put them online.
“One of the greatest thing for the families is they also have siblings in the school and they know all each other,” Matykiewicz said.
Sooner than later, the campaign caught wind in the student body ahead of last week’s vote.
Nearly 400 votes were cast by Sandburg seniors and Schuster and Matykiewicz were crowned homecoming queen and king last Friday during a school assembly at the football field.
“She had the biggest smile I had ever seen the entire weekend,” Schuster said.
Due to having other siblings at the school, Matykiewicz was able to be crowned by his “bigger, but younger brother” Austin.
“It was a sweet moment for me and I was proud of them,” Matykiewicz said.
Both Schuster and Matykiewicz set the dance floor on fire as Sandburg’s new queen and king.
“It was amazing, they looked adorable,” Matykiewicz said. “She had a pink sparkly dress. They brought a lot of happiness and joy to a lot of people.”
For what’s next, the duo will continue on at the Southwest Cook County Cooperative Association for Special Education after senior year. Since 1959, their mission is to prepare students with skills for life and the workforce.