Spring is prom season and it was no different for Maumelle High School as students gathered on April 4 to dance the night away.
It was different though as the school’s Community Based Instruction (CBI) students along with CBI students from Robinson High School came together in dresses and tuxedos for a dance that was a first for the school.
CBI students, said Barbara Gordon, the program’s teacher, are students that have “multiple or severe disabilities.”
“The most common is a combination,” she said of the special needs students.
That didn’t stop them from having a good time.
“We just had a blast,” Gordon said. “My students are already talking about next year.”
The idea, Gordon said, came about during the fall as DECA, or Distributive Education Clubs of America, students had approached their teacher, Michelle Camp, about putting on the prom as a service project.
“We just thought it was a fabulous idea,” Gordon said.
The students, Kennedy Mock and Riley Rucker, then solicited the Maumelle United Methodist Men for funds and it helped that they had an inside connection.
“Well, she’s my daughter,” said Wade Mock. “Kennedy said they were having trouble finding the money and I told her, we’re [The United Methodist Men] we’re always looking for things to give money to and when it finally came time, she came over to our group and made a presentation.
“I was proud of her.”
Mock said the church group gave Kennedy what she asked for but it wasn’t just that.
“The night before, we’re up in the attic digging out Christmas lights to use for decorations,” Wade Mock said with a laugh. “We loaded them up in the truck with some tables and took it all over to the school.”
Gordon said the church group’s donation covered the food served at the event, while “the Student Council paid for the DJ.”
Rucker and Kennedy Mock then, along with help from “some of the cheerleaders and a whole lot of kids helped decorate,” Gordon said.
To go to a prom though, you need a dress or a tux and that’s when more people stepped up, Gordon said.
“Sandy Tatum, one of the paraprofessionals here, donated some gorgeous, beautiful dresses,” Gordon said and “Mr. [Robert] Birdsong, donated some of the men’s formal wear.”
Birdsong, who teaches drama at the school, opened up the costume closet to the students, while other students also donated suits to the CBI students.
Gordon hopes the CBI prom will become an annual event and she isn’t the only one.
“One of Kennedy’s friends is a junior and Kennedy has already talked her into it,” Wade Mock said. “And we, as a church group, we want to help in anyway we can, so we’re there if they need us.”