Sophomore Whitney Kropp was an unpopular outsider with few friends when her classmates nominated her for the school Homecoming court.
She was elated -- until she realized it was all a cruel prank.
After the boy who was picked with her withdrew, "I thought I wasn't worthy," said Kropp, 16. "I was this big old joke."
But then word of the prank spread and residents of her small Michigan town pledged their support -- and she decided to stand up to the bullying and embrace her new role.
"Going to homecoming to show them that I'm not a joke," she wrote on Facebook. "Im a beautiful person and you shouldn't mess with me!"
At Friday night's Homecoming football game, residents turned out in droves to see her introduced at halftime, all wearing orange, Kropp's favorite color.
For the Homecoming dance the next evening, local businesses made sure her expenses were covered, including dinner, photos, hair and nails, and gown and shoes.
How did it all turn out?
"I'm overwhelmed," Kropp said. "I'm so happy -- this is so much right now for me."