Event gives students 'ultimate prom experience'
Florence Morning News - 5/7/2018
FLORENCE, S.C. ? It was a very special night at Wilson High School as more than 150 guests showed up for the "Very Special Prom" Saturday evening.
The Very Special Prom, in its second year, is a prom designed for children and teens with autism and various special needs.
Rebekah Andrews, organizer of the event, said the purpose of the night was to encourage appropriate social interaction with peers and to give students a memorable high school experience.
"We had a great time last year and this year has been even better," Andrews said. "The food, the decorations, all of that stuff has all been donated. It's just so great to see everybody dancing together like a real high school prom. It's awesome just to see these kids having a great time."
All three Florence District One high schools - South Florence, West Florence and Wilson - worked together to make the event possible.
Andrews said it was nice to see the students and volunteers from each school work together.
"This is a Florence community event," Andrews said. "It's nice to see that it's not like this school has one thing and the other school has another thing. It's a way for our district to come together. It means so much to these parents to see them here and see them included and loved for just being themselves."
The theme of the prom was "Enchantment Under the Sea."
This year, in addition to monetary donations, a number of people donated prom dresses and suits for the event. Andrews said there were so many donations they will be able to save some for next year.
Andrews said the support for the community made a huge difference in being able to give the students a nice prom experience.
"I teach kids with autism and one of the biggest things is social skills," Andrews said. "The ability to be able to interact with other people is so important, but you never really know how the work in the classroom is going until you get out in the field. This is that field, in a way."
"It's the ultimate prom experience. This will be the highlight of their high school career and it's certainly the highlight of my year," Andrews said. "It's just an awesome time and this is really what it's all about."