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Mass. town supports autistic teen inviting Ellen DeGeneres to prom


Video by Getty Videos for PCA

Mass. town supports autistic teen inviting Ellen DeGeneres to prom

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED Feb 4, 2014

Esteban Barriga, 17, of Maynard High School, has a dream prom date, Ellen DeGeneres, and the full support of hometown Maynard, Mass., behind him. 

In a new video, Barriga's 7-year-old sister, Mariana, narrates as Maynard High School students and teachers are featured alongside local shop employees, as well as the fire and police department, all helping the teen in his quest.

Barriga was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder at two years old.

Barriga told his mother, Maribel Rueda, that he wasn't going to prom reported “He said, ‘I’m not going to prom because I don’t have any friends. I don’t have anybody,’” said Rueda. “It broke my heart.”

Thirty video clips of locals were collected by Rueda, all pleading for DeGeneres to "say yes to Esteban."

“It’s been an unbelievable experience because here’s this kid who thought he had no friends at high school, who thought he was on his own—now he’s suddenly the most popular kid in school,” says Rueda.

Barriga has three dreams in life: be an actor, to meet Jimmy Fallon and to go with Ellen to prom. 

"Please support Esteban's dream by going into the Ellen page and type the comment 'Ellen!!! say YES!!! to Esteban,'" reads the YouTube post. "If we all do it he has a really good chance of making his dream a reality. THANK YOU!!! IMPORTANT: Use [these] hashtags in your posts: #EllenTakeMeToMyProm. #SayYesToEsteban." 

The Maynard High School senior prom is May 9. DeGeneres has yet to acknowledge the invitation.

Julianne Cassidy

Julianne Cassidy

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A city girl gone country, Philadelphia-bred journalist Julianne Cassidy relocated to be a Nashville-based digital editor for Scripps Media, Inc.