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Special needs prom rocked by 108 UCPS students

Amy Hunsaker, a transition to adulthood teacher at Weddington High School, at right, enjoys dancing to the 50s rock music in her poodle skirt. She is dancing with Weddington freshman Micah Biggerstaff, 14, who had earlier shown his dance prowess with his spot on rendition of "Thriller." (Below) Misael Zagada, 20, a senior at Wolfe School, enjoys some disco moves during this year’s Special Needs Prom. (Center) Elizabeth Velasco, 17, at left, a Parkwood Key Club member, serves Cheryl Mimy, an EC assistant at Sun Valley High School, during Friday’s Special Needs Prom. (Bottom) Parkwood High School Key Club members have a Kodak moment during the 24th annual Special Needs Prom. Pictured, from left, are Geraldyn Palacio, Leslie Aguilar, Elizabeth Velasco, Carson King (standing); Vanessa Bedolla, Bethany Green, Amanda Ryan and Katie Kelbaugh.

This year’s Special Needs Prom rocked to the beat of 1950s music, complete with a soda pop shop, poodle skirts, sunglasses, retro checkered backdrops, vinyl records and muscle cars.

“I’m having fun,” said Wolfe graduating senior Justin Lafata, 22. “I like dancing with the girls. My favorite music is Bon Jovi.”

About 50 Parkwood High School Key Club members presented the prom Friday (May 15, 2015) at First Presbyterian Church in Monroe. It has been held annually since 1991. Planning for this year’s event began in January.

Haiden Laney, the Key Club advisor, said her students really enjoy putting on the dance.

“They all have service hearts,” Laney said. “And they truly enjoy it. I usually have students come up to me afterward and say, ‘This is much better than our own prom.’ ”

Parkwood High School Key Club President, Jacob Cerrie, 18, said the event is very rewarding.

“As I was standing at the door greeting them when they came in, one student came up and just gave me a hug,” Cerrie said. “I enjoy seeing all those smiling faces. It touches me every time.”

A total of 108 students from various UCPS high schools across the county attended, including students from Sun Valley, Forest Hills, Piedmont, Monroe, Weddington, and Parkwood High schools. About 50 of the students were from Wolfe.

“The students are having so much fun,” said Wolfe Principal Les Deming. “This is fabulous. The Parkwood High School students are awesome, and I love the 50s theme.”

Deming said he enjoyed seeing his students get off the bus dressed for prom. “We cheered for them at school. They are having so much fun.”

Music for the event has been provided courtesy of Jimmy Huntley, with Bass FX in Monroe, since the prom began in the early 90s.

“I love these kids,” Huntley said. “They have a blast. The first note I play, they’re on the floor. I have to cut the music off or they won’t eat.”

Andy Lankford of US Foods provided the food, while Rolling Hills County Club Chef Mark Sitzer prepared the food.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe - UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: May 15, 2015 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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