Students rally behind autistic classmate for prom court

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RHINELANDER, Wis. (WSAW) -- Students at Rhinelander High School are making one classmate feel extra special as they get ready to hold their prom next week.

James Michniak is pretty well-known throughout Rhinelander High School. Next Saturday, the junior will be going to his very first prom.

"I feel a little bit, little excited," Michniak said.

A prom wouldn't be complete without a prom court and this year Michniak has the chance to become king.

This year, juniors can vote for any of their classmates, with many rallying behind Michniak.

"In previous years it was a self-nomination so a lot of students that necessarily don't feel comfortable with nominating themselves and having that honor of prom court didn't get a chance to do that," Rhinelander High School Art Teacher Brittany Haakenson said.

Michniak made it onto the court, and next Thursday the junior class will narrow the court of seven boys and seven girls down to a king and queen.

"He always makes everyone smile and laugh and he comes and gives everyone a big hug every single day," Rhinelander High School Junior and and Prom Committee Member, Sydney Zastrow said.

Michniak is a little different than the rest of the prom court - he has autism - but his fellow students say that's not what defines him.

"I don't see him as, that he has autism. I see him as a normal kid," Zastrow said. "Students are looking beside the point of someone having a disability, and not judging them about that, really speaks to the student body," Haakenson added.

By doing so they're making Michniak feel like one special guy.

"'How does it make you feel, to have all of these people supporting you?' Feel little bit proud," Michniak answered.

And of course, happy.

"I'm so excited to dance," Michniak said.

Dancing the night away, with that contagious smile of his.

Again, voting for prom king and queen is next Thursday.

Organizers said Michniak has a good chance.

Lund and taylor is giving Michniak a free tux rental.