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Special needs contestants shine in Miss Shining Star Pageant

More than 70 girls with special needs shined on stage in the Miss Shining Star Pageant Saturday.

More than 70 girls with special needs shined on stage in the Miss Shining Star Pageant Saturday.

The pageant, organized by Open Doors Tennessee, gives girls the chance to be princesses for a night.

"I feel (the girls) are special in a different way during this pageant," said Bobbie Lee, the mother of one of the pageant contestants. . 

As the night came to a close, the audience was surprised with one more performance.

William Johnson, a 16-year-old diagnosed with autism, surprised his best friend Kaylee Knoernschild with a "prom-posal." Johnson arranged for a drum line to play as he held a sign that read "March Into Prom of The Stars with Me: Yes or Yes?"  

Knoernschild said yes and even got a kiss on the cheek. 

The pair became friends through Knoernschild's regular volunteer work at Open Doors TN. In their time knowing each other, Kaylee has helped William get involved as manager of the Anderson County cheerleaders and makes extra special time to visit with him at school.

PAGEANT WINNERS: 

Baby Miss Shining Star: Ava Weiss

Tiny Miss Shining Star: Annabel Lawson

Little Miss Shining Star: McKayla Irwin

Pre-teen Miss Shining Star: Madison Wood

Teen Miss Shining Star: Michaela Lee

Overall talent: Karen Douglas 

Miss Shining Star: Faith McDonald 

Second and First Runners Up also received awards while additional contestants received Princess Awards and were crowned Miss Inspiration and Miss Photogenic.

For more information on the Shining Star Pageant visit and ways to donate, click here.