71
      Friday
      83 / 64
      Saturday
      86 / 66
      Sunday
      88 / 65

      West Branch community rallies around bullied teen

      Kopp's community of West Branch rallied around her to make her homecoming night special.

      It's supposed to be the happiest time in a young girl's life, being elected to homecoming court, but as many of you now know the story, an Ogemaw Heights sophomore found out she was instead, the butt of a joke.

      Not many people had heard of the town of West Branch on the west coast, until a story of bullying there made national news.

      "It all started with the announcement on the PA system at school announcing the nominations for homecoming court," Ogemaw Graduate Donny Winters said. "At first Whitney was happy, then she found out it was a joke."

      Winters is talking about his friend, 16-year-old Whitney Kropp, a sophomore at Ogemaw Heights high school, who was at first excited to be nominated to her school's homecoming court, then humiliated.

      "She said she didn't want to go, but then she decided she would go to prove to the bullies, that's she's beyond them," Winter said.

      Enter a community determined to rally around the teen.

      "[I told my boss,] I want to do something, what do you think?" Shannon Champagne said. "She said, 'yes, of course!'"

      Champagne is a stylist at Whit's End Salon, she offered to do Whitney's hair and makeup for the dance.

      "Our Stylist Kelsey already did a cut and color on her," Champagne said. "Saturday, we'll put braids in it for her, jewels, we'll make it really nice for her."

      Jessica zettle, owner of dress store The Glass Slipper, along with some other local families, donated a dress.

      "I'm a mom, I was instantly heartbroken when I heard about it," Zettle said. "I have daughters, I wouldn't want them to feel anything less than one million percent about themselves."

      A Facebook page, created to support Whitney and spread the word about bullying, now has 70,000 likes.

      "Thank you to all the people who are supporting me," Kropp said on a Youtube video she recently posted.

      A negative situation was turned on its head. The town, is now known for something good.

      The Homecoming dance is this Saturday. The Homecoming game is Friday night. Students and fans are expected to wear orange T-shirts, which is Whitney's favorite color.

      Some Ogemaw Heights high school students NBC25 talked to Tuesday said at least some of them who voted for Whitney to the Homecoming court, did not have bad intentions.