YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Students with special needs across Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana Counties had the chance to attend their very own prom Friday night.
Over 300 students, parents and chaperones from 30 different schools filled the Assumption Social Center in Youngstown for the Vegas-themed dance.
“It’s really an opportunity for the students to experience what every other student experiences during high school,” said Alicia Muzina, an intervention specialist at Canfield High School.
Students from the Helping Hands Program, which pairs high school students with special needs programs, also attended.
Carrie Miller works alongside these students and their peers, and says tonight is a big step forward for them.
“Seeing all these students in this environment is just really amazing because they surprise us once in a while,” she said. “Little by little or in great strides.”
Gillian Jennings is a member of Helping Hands. She says every day brings new challenges but on Friday night, she saw a different side to her friends.
“Yes, they learn math, they learn special skills, hand-eye coordination but I get to see them in an element…we had our prom last week, it’s no different for them this week.”
This is the 20th special needs prom Canfield High School has hosted but for a few students this year, it was their first time dancing with friends.