Time to shine

Community holds prom to celebrate special needs students

Story by Victoria Van, entertainment editor

The Tim Tebow Foundation sponsored The Night to Shine prom at the Arkansas Convention Center on Feb. 9 from 6-9 pm. This worldwide movement for special needs kids celebrates their individuality and gives each child a chance to express themselves with like-minded people.

This was Texarkana’s first year to hold the event, as special needs teacher Samantha Autrey found out through her church. Autrey asked the principals if she could coordinate the event on campus to ensure every student had an opportunity to attend.

“The goal is to give each student a chance. They’re very timid and reserved, but this prom can make them feel special,” Autrey said. “I wanted to help out in any way I could.”

Students from the 504 enrichment that provide companionship to the special needs students were also involved in getting the students ready for their big night. Giving each girl a glamorous makeover and providing the boys with the best suits and ties brought together a community to acknowledge how important it is to make each person feel outstanding.

“I’ve been with them every A-Day since returning from Christmas Break and my motivation was just to see the girls smile,” junior Kayla Walthall said. “The girls were especially excited about the prom because they could not stop talking about dancing, wearing nail polish, makeup and dresses.”

At the prom, the red carpet was rolled out, fireworks sounded off and each person danced the night away to enjoy themselves to their maximum potential. This night will ensure lasting memories and each individual will have something to take away as they reflect on the experience.

“There were games and so many other activities to do. I went to go to the prom mainly because I’ve never went to one, and I wanted to see what it’s like,” sophomore Sophia Conkleton said. “Being treated like a princess while people were helping me get ready and dancing my heart out at the prom was amazing.”