He’s the true King of Windsor!
Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 12, 2005
Jamar Scott can’t read or write, can barely string together a sentence, and hasn’t finished high school at 22.
So how is it that he’s teaching Windsor how to live?
Ever since he came to Windsor High in seventh grade (before the school became a 9-12th grade school three years ago), Scott has been a man-about-campus. He heads to class every day, helps clean up the cafeteria after meals, and is the football team’s most faithful supporter.
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That’s why it’s so easy for everyone to see past his Down’s Syndrome.
&uot;He doesn’t care who you are,&uot; said his longtime pal, Breon Lee, a Windsor senior. &uot;He’ll always come up and talk to you. Everyone’s his friend.&uot;
&uot;One of the things we stress here at Windsor is to recognize the individual,&uot; said school principal Bill Owen. &uot;We’re all part of the human race. Jamar’s a very lovable, caring individual.&uot;
School’s always been a haven for Jamar, says his foster mother Ivy Melton.
&uot;Windsor is his favorite place,&uot; she said. &uot;He talks about it all the time.&uot;
She adopted Jamar in 1989, after his biological mother gave up her parental rights (Melton says she doesn’t know the identity of his father). The next year, he was diagnosed with Down’s.
After two years in his new home, Jamar helped turn tragedy to triumph.
&uot;I had had some female problems, and I’d gone to the doctor,&uot; Ivy said, her face already crumpling. &uot;He told me to come back in two days. As soon as I got home, I started feeling weak.&uot;
She started bleeding heavily. Her mother called, and Jamar, still not even 10, answered the phone.
&uot;My mom asked what was going on, and he kept saying, ‘She’s sick! She’s sick!&uot;
Ivy’s mother and her two sisters jumped into the car and came over. By then, Jamar had gone to his bed and gotten a comforter, which he wrapped around Ivy as she lay by the door.
&uot;He kept me warm,&uot; she said, still wiping away tears. &uot;He kept me so warm.&uot;
Eventually, her family arrived, and she was taken to the hospital.
When she had an asthma attack three years ago, Jamar fumbled with the phone until he was able to call her son (Ivy has three other children), who called for help.
Almost three years ago, Jamar started working at the Tidewater Occupational Center, putting together plasticware kits. Hoping that he’d be there for a long time, Ivy arranged for 2003-04 to be his last school year.
In May 2004, however, the center shut down. Fearing that Jamar wouldn’t have anything to do, Ivy asked Owen if he could get another year of special (in more ways than one) education, and he quickly agreed.
As the fall sports season rolled in, Jamar headed back out to cheer on the Duke gridiron stars. In a near-identical blueprint of the 2003 Cuba Gooding Jr. film &uot;Radio,&uot; he still stood on the sidelines, firing up the crowd, inspiring the players.
In November, with Ivy on his arm, Jamar attended his first Homecoming dance. As the year wound down in April, he decided to make his prom debut.
A few days before the event, the school sent out a ballot of its 120 seniors, including Jamar, to vote for the King and Queen.
Though they weren’t allowed to vote, the school seniors attempted to spread the word.
&uot;We got together and discussed it,&uot; Lee said. &uot;Everyone knew him, and we all wanted to do something for him.&uot;
In the days leading up to the event, fellow senior Katie Batten heard the discussion.
&uot;I’d heard a lot of people speak about it,&uot; she said. &uot;It was very exciting.&uot;
On April 30, Jamar, Ivy and the rest of the partiers headed to the Smithfield Center to dance the night away. After about two hours, the event came to a temporary stop.
All the seniors and their dates were called together and announced. Then came the night’s top two honorees.
Batten was named the queen, and Owen crowned her. Then the entire building went silent.
Up front, a Windsor student held the microphone to her mouth.
&uot;The prom king for 2005,&uot; she announced slowly, &uot;is… Jamar Scott.&uot;
Ivy dropped her camera. The room exploded with applause and cheers. Jamar stood still, unable to believe what had happened. Then he started jumping around, and charged to the front, where Owen placed the crown atop his head.
&uot;It was great,&uot; Owen recalled, smiling. &uot;Everybody was very excited for him.&uot;
&uot;Everyone wanted him to win,&uot; Batten said. &uot;I was really happy, and the smile on his face showed how excited he was.&uot;
The two took the floor to the tunes of Kelly Clarkson’s &uot;A Moment Like This.&uot;
&uot;He was a great dancer!&uot; Batten said. &uot;I still call him my king!&uot;
At 7 p.m. on June 17, Jamar will finally put on his blue robe and mortarboard and walk across the stage to get his diploma. Owen said that he’d like for Jamar to keep working around the school after gradution.
But even with his newfound royalty, not much has changed the King Duke. He still heads to school every morning, where he’ll hands out, Batten estimates, &uot;nine hugs and three handshakes a day.&uot; He still does odd jobs around school for Owen (&uot;It’s the best five dollars I can take out of my pocket!&uot; the proud principal grins.).
&uot;Windsor will never forget Jamar,&uot; Ivy said softly, &uot;and they’ll never be forgotten by him.&uot;