More than 250 area life-skills student enjoy prom night
The bass was bumping in the Grand Ballroom of the DoubleTree Hotel, Meadow Lands, as students from 15 area schools danced the morning away.
More than 250 students from Peters Township, South Fayette, Upper St. Clair, Bethel Park, Baldwin, Carlynton, Chartiers Valley, Keystone Oaks, Washington, Belle Vernon, Avonworth, Elizabeth Forward, Montour, Moon and South Allegheny participated in a life-skills prom May 4 designed to foster social development.
Wearing donated gowns and tuxedos, the students posed for photo booth pictures and crowded the dance floor.
“This has changed lives,” Elizabeth Forward Superintendent Bart Rocco said. “It’s a remarkable experience for our life-skills kids and our regular education kids.”
Students in life-skills classrooms, who have a variety of special needs, are taught with a focus on developing daily living and social skills. Many districts have programs in place for regular education students to assist in life-skills classrooms.
Washington sophomore Desaree Collins said being a part of her fellow students’ lives is a privilege. Collins is a Prexie Pal, a member of a partnership program that provides meaningful activities for students with or without physical and intellectual disabilities.
“They are all such good kids who have amazing potential,” Collins said. “It means the world to me to be here.”
Female Washington students were treated to makeup applications and hair updos by Western Area Career and Technology Center students, while male students were given haircuts and trims.
Jamie Frazier, a Washington special education teacher, said while inclusion in the high school prom is encouraged, the life-skills prom gives students an opportunity to socialize with peers they interact with throughout the year at other events.
“The community has really gotten behind this event and donated services and money,” Frazier said. “The students are having the best time.”