SPARTA, Mich. (March 1, 2014)– About 400 students from across west Michigan danced the night away at the annual “Best Prom Ever” event for students with special needs.
Rhonda Carlisle said that in 2006 she took her son Tom out for dinner, when he noticed his classmates were heading out to the prom.
“We were at Olive Garden with Tom eating dinner and his friends from school came in all dressed up and he kind of looks at me and says ‘Mom how come I can’t have a prom? What’s wrong with me?’ Well, heck nothing is wrong with you,” said Carlisle.
For students with special needs, attending their prom is something they often times skip out on.
“I just thought why can’t we have that? The rest of my classmates have something like that,” said Tom.
Tom`s teacher Renne Wyman at Sparta High School helped his family create the prom for students with special needs called The Best Prom Ever, starting with just 15 attendees to over 400 this year.
“It is the most amazing rush. The kids from the second they arrive are just squealing with joy and giddy happiness to be able to come to a place with this much bling. This much sparkle and jazz,” said Wyman.
Students are able to walk a red carpet, take a limo ride, hop into the photo booth and dance the night away.
“A lot of these kids for years have felt left out, a little invisible, probably a little bit afraid to try the general education prom,” said Wyman.
With more than 200 volunteers and donations from the community, hundreds of students from five area counties show-up, dressed in their best.
Wyman said that it doesn’t only mean a lot to the students, but also to the parents.