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'It's all about Stephanie'

Lakeridge senior gives girl a winter formal memory


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Stephanie Blizzard and Bryce Anderson attended the MORP dance Saturday. MORP is prom spelled backward.As the Associated Student Body president and a captain of the varsity basketball team, Bryce Anderson probably wouldn’t have had to wait long for a date to the girl-ask-guy MORP winter formal.

But the Lakeridge High senior with the bright smile wasn’t interested in waiting. Instead, he asked out someone who had never been to a dance before: Lakeridge senior Stephanie Blizzard, a friend he met in preschool. She cannot speak, and she is in a wheelchair.

Her mom, Kristy Blizzard, said Anderson told her: “’Stephanie cannot ask anyone to the dance, so I am asking her.’”by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Stephanie Blizzard and Bryce Anderson are friends who first met in preschool.

Kristy Blizzard said her daughter may not be able to say what that meant to her, but her incredible smile was explanation enough.

Stephanie Blizzard has cerebral palsy, a group of motor conditions that cause physical disabilities, mainly in body movement. She also has a tracheostomy, a hole made in the trachea to relieve an obstruction of the airway.

She may not be able to do some of the things other students can, but Anderson said he wanted to help his classmate enjoy a high school rite of passage, and so he escorted her to MORP Saturday.

“She deserves to have that experience like everyone else,” he said.

Before the dance, Anderson had dinner at the Blizzard family home with a group of friends and posed for photos with his date — who was dressed in a long, cobalt-blue gown.

Anderson’s mother, Lisa Jaqua, said she’s proud of her son, but “the spotlight should be on Stephanie.”by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: SOPHIE RICHARDS - The MORP Court of 2014 includes, from left: senior Anisha Adke, junior Olivia Evans, senior Michael Ashworth, freshman Ian Gaekwad, junior Nick Rooney, sophomore Daniel Farthing, sophomore Abigail Spear, sophomore Elli Newman, freshman Mackenzie Hudler, freshman Emily Bell and junior Kate Maguire. Court members who are not pictured are: senior Maris Bouc, senior Brandon Kuhnert, junior Owen Hart, sophomore Ryota Ito and freshman Ari Akbari.

Stephanie Blizzard’s father, Doug Blizzard, said he sees Anderson as a young man who has the maturity to understand the importance of including a girl who never has been to a dance, not a boy who feels sorry for someone.

“It’s all about Stephanie; it’s not about him,” Doug Blizzard said.

While his daughter was at the dance, Doug Blizzard said, Anderson never left her side, and that touched him.

“He is a hero to me,” Doug Blizzard said.

Lakeridge’s MORP, prom spelled backwards, this year was themed “MORP at Gatsby’s,” imbuing the Leftbank Annex in Portland with the essence of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel. Students in each grade level elect two boys and two girls to the MORP court.

Though Stephanie Blizzard had not been to a dance before, the young woman also was a homecoming princess a couple of years ago, and her mom attributes this acceptance to the welcoming nature of the Lakeridge community.by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Lakeridge Junior Madi Mayfield invited Lakeridge junior Jerry Brooks to MORP. Brooks, like Stephanie Blizzard, is in a wheelchair.

“We’re definitely included,” Kristy Blizzard said.

So is Lakeridge junior Jerry Brooks. Junior Madi Mayfield invited him to MORP, and Brooks, like Stephanie Blizzard, who is in a wheelchair. He wore pink socks — Mayfield’s favorite color, and he picked out and designed the corsage he gave her.

She said they had dinner and spent time talking together at the dance with a group of friends.

“He had a suit on — that was really cute,” Mayfield said.

Jillian Daley can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 109. Follow her on Twitter, @jilliandaley.



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