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EC students dance their way to prom

THURS. | 04-07-22 | FEATURES

     Most students have dreamed of their own prom at some point in their life. Prom is a milestone that most people consider a rite of passage for high school students, especially Rose’s Exceptional Children (EC) students.

     Rose’s Student Government Association (SGA) puts on multiple events throughout the year to bring all the students together. However, two of their biggest accomplishments are opening Rose’s prom to EC students giving them a prom experience, and the prom closet provided for all students at Rose. The prom closet has brought many students their prom ensembles to wear, including EC students.

     “SGA has been putting together and bringing EC students to prom for the past 15 years,” Haynes said.

     SGA has always had the responsibility of putting on the senior and junior prom at Rose. The junior class and Luisa Haynes, SGA teacher advisor and Spanish teacher, have the responsibility of planning prom. SGA is also responsible for the engagement and inclusivity of the EC students at our school.

     Many schools never consider making a special effort to include these exceptional students in what most people would consider common activities.

EC Prom photo.HEIC

     It’s just the right thing to do,” Haynes said. “They’re students at Rose; they should have the same experience as everyone else.”

     Several years ago, the mother of an EC student approached Haynes to express her appreciation.

     “She was taking all these pictures and smiling, when she grabbed me and said, ‘I just never thought;’ she started crying,” Haynes said. “The mom had said to me, ‘when they told me he had special needs, I started crying because I thought of all the things I would miss’.”

     One of the things the mother had told Haynes was that she always thought she would miss out on her son attending his own prom because of his disability.

     “[She] cried because [she] never thought [she] would see him go to his prom,” Haynes said. “She said to me, ‘I never thought I would see this day.’”

     Prom might seem like just a night to some people, but for these students and their parents it can be truly exciting and heartwarming.

     “Oh, he was so excited about [prom], getting his tux and getting flowers for his date,” Haynes said. 

      Tonya Ebron, department chair for the EC students, also finds prom a transformative experience for these students.

     “Mrs. Haynes and the SGA are our heroes when it comes down to helping these kids and what [they] do for them,” Ebron said. “[The EC students] don’t get a chance to do that a lot, and we greatly appreciate that.”

Ebron is greatly influential when it comes to voicing the needs of the EC students at Rose. She loves that the EC students are given many opportunities, like attending prom and the accessibility of the prom closet as a helpful resource.

     “Any time the [EC students] get to socialize with other students is always a great opportunity,” Ebron said.

      Not only does Ebron advocate for the EC students, do the heavy load of paperwork and converse between teachers to provide the best care for the students, but she also helps the students get ready for their big night.

     “I take them to get their hair done, get their dresses [and] get their nails done,” Ebron said. “Just to see them transform into that beautiful being and get excited is very cool to me.”

     Ebron once spent an entire day helping an EC student get ready for prom. The student, who was in the self-contained classes, was shy and didn’t socialize often, but Ebron said the student was excited when it came down to getting ready for their prom night.

     “It took the whole day getting her ready,” Ebron said. “But being able to go with her to get her hair and nails done; she looked like a princess.”

     Ebron was incredibly happy just to be a part of this young girl’s prom transformation and see her smile from ear-to-ear.

     “Just to see all of them smile and be happy; it’s amazing,” Ebron said.

     Prom has given the EC students a night they will never forget, just like prom has given everybody else.

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