-- It was happily ever after for this queen.
“She's gone through a lot and she's a terrific kid," Michelle O'Hanian, Andrade's mother, told local affiliate KABC. "No matter what, from little kids staring at her, I've always told her, a smile is contagious."
And boy did that advice pay off.
Andrade smiled the whole way through her campaign—and Thursday night as she sat on the sidelines of Ontario’s big football game amongst her fellow homecoming court competitors, who were all cheering her on, she was especially beaming ear to ear.
“She won by a landslide,” Larry Rook, Ontario’s vice principal, told ABC News. “It wasn’t even close. The kids came out and voted very much for Melissa.”
“This is something Melissa’s dreamt about ever since she was yay high,” her mom explained. “She wants to motivate other children and we love that.”
As her name was announced over the loud speaker, she and O’Hanian were tightly gripping each other’s hands—and then, the moment she’s been waiting for. Pure joy.
“I’m so happy, I can’t thank everyone enough,” Andrade said, barely able to contain her excitement.
And today as she woke up a queen with her brand new sparkly crown perfectly placed on her bedside table, Andrade can continue smiling knowing her one main goal, to teach people not to be afraid of differences, has officially been accomplished.
“She kept saying, ‘I can’t believe it. This actually happened,’” O’Hanian said of her daughter’s reaction on the way home. “And I said, ‘Yes, your dream came true. You’re going to make a difference. And she said, ‘Yes mom, I am going to make a difference.'"