After High Schoolers Played A Prank On This Teen, Her Friends Taught The Bullies A Valuable Lesson

Anyone who’s ever attended high school knows that kids can be cruel. Students who come off as even a little bit different can, unfortunately, expect plenty of nastiness and pranks played on them throughout their school life. And the cruelty of pulling a prank at prom – one of the most important events in a young person’s life – can barely be overstated. Luckily, though, not all girls are mean girls. Indeed, once these two young women realised that their friend was being bullied, they immediately took action.

Anahi Alvarez, Naomi Martinez and Lilly Skinner are all teenage students at Grand Prairie High School in North Texas. The three girls have been close friends since the seventh grade. And so when prom season rolled around in 2014, they hoped that they’d all make it to homecoming court together. For a while it looked like that would actually be the case, but then the rug was pulled from under their feet.

Yes, some mean-spirited students had told Lilly that she was in the running for homecoming queen, knowing full well that she wasn’t. When the three friends saw the ballot, Anahi and Naomi were on there, but Lilly was not – she had been set up. When Lilly realised, she wasn’t angry – her mother had brought her up to always look for the good in people – but she was disappointed.

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Anahi and Naomi were equally disappointed. They had drawn up a secret plan to step out of the contest if all three of them had been nominated. That way they could help Lilly in her bid for homecoming queen instead. But now that plan had been ruined, and their best friend had been hurt. So, with the help of their choir teacher, they hatched a second plan.

In an interview with NBC, the girls explained what they had come up with. “We promised each other,” Naomi said, referring to herself and Anahi. “We were like, ‘No matter what, no backing down. If one of us wins, we’re giving Lillian the crown.” And considering the pride and status a teen gets from being named homecoming queen, it was a huge decision to make.

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And the plan went off without a hitch! Even though it was clear that neither Naomi or Anahi would have minded if the other one got the crown, in the end, it was Anahi who did. Lilly was present on the football field to snap photographs of her friend’s triumph to put in the school paper. But when Anahi walked up to collect the coveted item in front of all her classmates, some of them got a surprise.

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“Anahi is honoring a very hard-working senior with her crown,” came the voice of the prom’s announcer as the young woman took her place in the center of the field. “We would like to announce Lillian Skinner; please step up and receive this honor.” Lilly, standing there with her camera feeling nothing but happiness for her friend, was absolutely shocked.

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“When she won the queen, I took a picture and she told me to come over,” Lilly told NBC. “And I said, ‘It’s OK. It’s OK. It’s your crown, you know? My name is not on the list,’” But Anahi wasn’t having it. And Lilly, who hadn’t even worn a dress to the prom, shed tears of joy as her best friends gathered around her and crowned her the homecoming queen.

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“Seeing the look on her face and the way she reacted toward it, it was priceless,” Naomi told NBC. “I knew it was the right decision.” Sentiment that Anahi wholeheartedly agreed with. Speaking to the same channel, she announced, “I want to say, and I always say, ‘Lilly won. I just ran in her place, in her position. When they ask me, ‘Were you homecoming queen?’ I say, ‘No, Lilly is homecoming queen.’”

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The school’s new principal, Lorimer Arendse, was only informed of the girls’ plan on the night of the prom itself. But he was delighted to hear what the girls had in mind. Indeed, Arendse was more than happy to let a different homecoming queen than expected take the crown. “In all my time in school, this is probably the greatest moment I’ve ever experienced as a principal,” he told NBC.

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He wasn’t the only one who was taken aback by the teenagers’ kindness either. Before long, the story went viral. People from all around the world offered their comments and praise for the girls. “The parents of these three girls should be very proud of their daughters,” read one comment. “All three young ladies are excellent ambassadors for their school,” read another.

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In fact, the girls were soon inundated by invitations from media channels eager to cover the story. In each interview, Anahi and Naomi always mentioned how much they adored Lilly and how much she meant to them. “She’s that person that is always happy,” Naomi Martinez told CBS 11 News. “Happy to see me! Happy to see everyone – just happy to be here.”

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Spurred on by the attention they had suddenly received, the girls decided to do something else, too. With the help of Principal Arendse, they held an anti-bullying rally at their high school. Students were encouraged to watch out for each other and not be bystanders when it came to bullying. At the end, Anahi, Naomi and Lilly unveiled a banner which read, “Because it’s the right thing to do” and got their classmates to sign it.

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While that might normally have been the end of it, thanks to the media coverage, someone else had got wind of the story and what the girls had done. That person was Ellen DeGeneres, the world-famous chat show queen whose catchphrase is, of course, “be kind to one another.”

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The three girls had certainly lived up to the ideal that Ellen believed in. So, when she invited them onto her TV show Ellen in September 2014, she introduced them onto her stage with a great deal of praise. “This is an amazing story. You are exactly why I say ‘Be kind to one another’ every single day,” she told Anahi, Naomi and Lilly as the audience applauded.

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Ellen asked Anahi if she had hesitated at all before handing over the crown. “It’s a big deal to be homecoming queen, right? Did you think ‘Well, I can make her feel good in another way’ or did you just immediately say ‘I’m giving her the crown?”’ “No, there was no hesitation at all,” Anahi answered straightaway.

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Then, to celebrate the fact that all three of them were deserving to be a homecoming queen, Ellen gave the girls a crown each. They were delighted, but more was to come. “You saw the halls are lined with all of our favorite guests?” Ellen asked, showing them backstage. “We have saved a spot on the wall… we are now gonna put the three of you on that hallway!”

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But that wasn’t quite the end of it, either. Ellen asked the three girls if they were planning on going to college, and they all answered in the affirmative. Then Ellen then told them that, in partnership with Shutterfly, she wanted to gift each of them $10,000 towards college. The awestruck girls were handed checks. “See how it pays to be kind?” Ellen said.

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Ellen was right of course. Anahi, Naomi and Lilly walked away with crowns, their photographs on the Ellen Show wall, and enough money to ensure they could go on to higher education. But the bullies who misled one of their peers for no reason other than cruelty? They got nothing.

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The three girls now have big plans for their future. Lilly wants to be an actress once she graduates high school, Naomi wants to be a counselor and Anahi hopes to become a social worker. “I would like to try and make a change in our society and help people feel good,” Anahi told Dallas News in September 2014. But she and her friends, most people would say, have already done that.

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