Zachary High hosts third annual prom for special needs students

Source: Zachary High School
Source: Zachary High School

ZACHARY, LA (WAFB) - Zachary High School held its third annual prom for special needs students on Monday.

The event was a smaller version of Zachary High's regular prom, which was held almost a month ago.

This unique school dance symbolizes unity and friendship between special education and regular education students.

About 20 students, ranging from ninth to twelfth grade from the high school's special education department dressed up to dance the afternoon away at the academic-athletic center.

All of the special needs students were on today's prom court, and Kevone Washington was crowned prom king.

Before the prom, the special education students were treated to a lunch at Walk-Ons, which was one of the sponsor's of the event. Other sponsors of the event included the Zachary Knights of Columbus, Pelican State Credit Union, Burk Heroman Florist, and First in Counters.

The special education students were joined with their partners from Bronco Buddies, as well as, students from the cheerleading and baseball teams. The Bronco Buddies is a program that pairs regular and special education students together at school.

Jamie Byrd, a special education teacher and cheerleading coach at Zachary High, explains that the program goes beyond the school's walls. Regular education students in the program take their special education partners to enjoy events outside of school such as including sporting events, birthday parties, and even playing in the snow.

Byrd said the regular education students in the program had the option of leaving an hour early but all opted to stay at the prom with their special needs friends.

Ariana Minor, who is a special education twelfth grader at ZHS, said she was so excited for today's prom had been waiting since last year's prom ended. She said this year's prom was "awesome."

Minor said her partner in the Bronco Buddies program is a student named Emma but she enjoys hanging out with everyone in the program.

Chayala Magee, who is a special education student in the same grade as minor, said she was equally excited for Monday's prom. Magee's friends in the Bronco Buddies program said Magee had been practicing her dance moves for the special dance. Magee also said she enjoyed the meal before Prom at Walk-Ons.

Kenlee McHugh, a regular education senior who joined the program earlier this year, said she helped Byrd and other students with the decorations for Monday's special event.

McHugh and her friends in the Bronco Buddies program wanted to make Monday's prom just as fun as the school prom they attended on March 24.

"I think it means a lot to them. We want them to have the same experience as we had at our prom because they (the special needs students) mean so much to us. We love them," McHugh said.

Grace Dry, another senior in the program, said she was inspired to volunteer after seeing past students in the program.

"I've known Jamie Byrd almost all of my life and I've always appreciated what she does for the kids and wanted to be a part of that. I saw Bronco buddies before us and the opportunities they had, and it's just a good service opportunity."

When asked about Monday's dance, Dry said she was more excited about it than the other prom last month.

"This one is more fun," Dry and a chorus of her friends said.

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