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A wonderful night for Denise

Denise Waddell is taking it from the basketball court to the homecoming court.

Waddell isn’t your average high school student. A 17-year-old senior at Western Hills High School in Franklin County, Waddell is what some would consider to be a jack-of-all-trades. 

She’s a member of the marching band, jazz band, symphonic band, beta club, national honors, Future Farmers of America and a point guard on the girl’s basketball team. To top it all off, she has a 4.3 GPA. 

Now, she is adding something new to her resume: being on the 2023 Western Hills homecoming court. 

Waddell was born in the Philippines and moved to Frankfort, Kentucky, when she was 4-years-old. 

“I’ve made a lot of friends here, I enjoy that the most,” Waddell said about Western Hills High School. 

Basketball has been a part of Waddell’s life since she was in the fourth grade and trumpet since the sixth grade. 

Waddell was “surprised” to find out she got nominated for homecoming court. 

“I don’t even know who nominated me,” she said. “Someone had nominated me from a different class, I’m shocked honestly.”

She went on to explain how she felt the homecoming court wasn’t such a big worry for her.

“Honestly this is a popularity contest and I’ve never really been into that kind of stuff because I don’t really care much for that,” she said.

Waddell was given the option to choose between wearing her band uniform or her homecoming dress when marching onto the football field for the homecoming game. She chose the dress.

Denise marched onto the field dressed to the nines, complemented by nearly everyone she passed. 

When the time came for the announcement of king and queen, Waddell was accompanied by fellow student Tyler Woolridge. As they gazed upon the crowd, silence filled the air. 

And while Waddell would not go home with a crown, she left the field grateful. 

 “Regardless, I was just happy to be a part of the court,” she said. “Whatever the outcome was, I knew it was just a popularity contest, and doesn’t define my character. It shows how many people know you on a surface level and I know that people enjoy me the most once they know me on a surface level.”

“A wonderful night for Denise” was produced during the 2023 Picture Kentucky Workshop in Frankfort, Kentucky, where students were randomly assigned subjects in the area to follow and complete a photo story over the course of four days.

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