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Winston-Salem high school crowns ‘compassion queen’ for raising money for charity

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A high school in Winston-Salem is giving the tradition of homecoming court a whole new meaning.

R.J. Reynolds High School crowned its 2017 Queen of Compassion at Friday’s homecoming game.

Seventeen-year-old Jaelyn Massey took home this year’s title.

“It feels really amazing knowing that I can help somebody else,” Massey said after winning.

It’s a lesson staff at R.J. Reynolds high school wanted students to learn when they started Compassion Court five years ago.

"Homecoming here has always been more than a popularity contest,” said Caitie Reece, chair of homecoming committee. “There's always been an extra layer."

Fourteen students from all grades get nominated to be on the court and whoever raises the most money for a charity wins the title.

"It makes us feel like were actually here for a reason," Massey said.

Massey raised more than $4,000 for the American Brain Tumor Association.

"I knew I was going to raise a lot,” she said. “But, I didn't think that much."

The cause hits close to home for the senior who was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year.

“I had to learn how to walk and talk and do other curricular activities," she said.

Baker Kenan is also on Compassion Court and won this year’s title of homecoming queen.

She’s raised about $350 for Habitat for Humanity.

"We actually get something out of it and do something," Kenan said.

Although the school still has a traditional homecoming court, Massey says being rewarded for showing compassion takes the honor to a whole new level.

"You have a meaning to why you're there," Massey said.

Altogether, Compassion Court has raised more than $8,000 for different charities. Members of the court had two weeks to raise money.