By George Slaughter
Josue Barrios can attest to how dreams can come true.
Barrios, 19, is a senior at Morton Ranch High School, and has Down syndrome, a genetic disorder. Yet his family works to make things as normal for Barrios as possible, and he doesn’t let it slow him down. His mother, Katherine Villacorta, describes him a very positive, friendly person who goes everywhere, meets people, and loves dancing. He also plays the guitar and sings.
Earlier this year, Barrios confided to family and friends his dream of being crowned king at a big dance, in front of lots of people. His dream came true Saturday, as his classmates elected him king at his prom, held at the Westin Hotel at Memorial City.
With several candidates for the king’s role, there was no assurance of victory. Villacorta, who along with her husband Marco Moran attended the prom, wanted to encourage Barrios to feel good about things, and himself, regardless of how the vote went.
“I wanted to make sure he was OK if he didn’t win,” Villacorta said. “But he reassured me. He was confident he would win. He knows everybody and he thought they were going to vote for him.”
Fellow senior Bianca Rodriguez-Caskey described the moment in which Barrios was announced the winner as priceless.
“It was amazing because he said it was one of his dreams to become king in front of a big crowd,” Rodriguez-Caskey said. “He was laughing and smiling, and I thought he was crying tears of joy.”
Being elected king was special not just for the honor itself, but that Barrios could share it with his family Villacorta said Barrios has a father-son relationship with Moran.
“He wants to make his daddy proud of him,” Villacorta said. “He’s very attached to him.”
After the prom, they called Barrios’s maternal grandparents, Normal and Raul Villacorta, with the good news.
“It was so emotional for us,” Villacorta said. “It was his moment, and he really deserved it because he worked so hard for it. He’s a wonderful kid.”
As for the future, Villacorta said Barrios wants to act. Rodriguez-Caskey plans to attend Texas A&M University to study pediatric radiology.
“Kids with special needs really teach you more than you teach them,” Villacorta said.