Every year, Branham’s Best Buddies Club hosts a Winter Wonderland dance for the special education students at Branham and other schools in the area. This year’s dance had a huge attendance, with over 200 students from eight different schools’ special education programs attending.
Senior Rachel Martin exclaims that this dance is very important for the special education students to let loose. “[The dance] brings all the students together to enjoy the holiday season,” comments Martin.
Volunteers serve food for the students, manage craft tables, and encourage the special education students to dance. The overall atmosphere was energetic, and everyone in attendance was engaged and happy.
“We’ve done this every year for ten years,” says Special Education Instructor and Best Buddies Advisor Charlene Hernandez. “Eight schools participate, and each school takes turns hosting a dance, and Branham has always hosted the December one.”
Many of Branham’s clubs also contributed their service to help make this dance possible.
“Lots of teachers and clubs make donations. Mrs. Wilson got us a cotton candy machine, Starbucks donated some things, and the SPARE club and Latino Student Union are here doing arts and crafts with the students. Best buddies is here too, providing encouragement to the students and helping them socialize,” Hernandez explains.
The dance provides an opportunity for students to socialize, and enjoy high school activities in a fun and inclusive setting. In the midst of the dance, senior Melanie Asquith comments, “The dance is going really well, all the students are mingling and participating in fun activities. Everyone is having a good time.”
Events like the Winter Wonderland dance prove Branham’s culture of inclusion and demonstrate the dedication and effort that the Best Buddies Club puts into making sure that everyone on campus feels accepted and loved.