CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — This month, some very special students in Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan Counties are invited to attend an event that’s just for them.
The YOUR Night to SHINE! Prom is open to students with special needs who might find a traditional prom environment overwhelming.
Assistant Superintendent for special programs in Jefferson County Schools Matthew Wink says, “We are opening it up to Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson County because all those students are important to us.”
“It’s a big team effort,” among his colleagues in the three school systems, according to Wink. “All three counties are putting a lot of effort into this, a lot of man hours are going into it to ensure that it’s special for our students.”
Wink says area high schools try to make prom accessible to their students. “We know that all the tri-county high schools do a fantastic job of trying to include all students when they hold their proms, but we also know that the sensory needs of some of our students prevent them from being able to go and experience and feel comfortable in that environment.”
Wink says the special event will look a lot like a regular prom, minus some things like strobe lights. “We took the model of what a prom looks like every single year. We’ll have a DJ, but we’re going to take that noise level down. We’re going to keep the house lights up a little bit higher so that our students can see and understand what’s going on around them.”
Wink looked back to proms past for inspiration. “The big thing was if you could afford a limo, or if you could come to prom in a limo, that was a great thing, so we’re going to have a limo that is posed outside for picture opportunities for our students if they want to slide through the limo and come out of it onto the red carpet, then they can do that.”
“As prom royalty, they’ll get their time on the red carpet and the focus will be on them,” according to Wink. “All of the local principals that are going to be coming out will introduce their students.”
Local florists are pitching in to provide corsages and boutonnieres to those in attendance.
Wink says they’ve been working on the idea since November.
The prom is set for March 25th at the Airborne Church Event Center, high school students from Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan Counties are invited to attend the prom, billed as an “opportunity to feel special and attend a Prom in a non judged environment.” The prom gets underway from 6 to 8 p.m.
The deadline to register is March 17th.
For more information, contact Berkeley, Jefferson, or Morgan County Schools or call Matthew Wink at (304) 728-5895.