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Prom Night Offers Magical Conclusion for DISD's Special Needs Students

14 Apr 2000

On a night when many teenagers try their best to stand out, to be outlandish and different, the special needs students at E. D. Walker High School are thankful for an opportunity to be just like the rest. For them, prom night will be a night to remember.

In fact, "A Night to Remember" is the theme of their party at 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 21, at the Doubletree Hotel/Campbell Centre, 8250 N. Central Expressway. Volunteers, local businesses and parents have worked diligently all year to ensure that the evening doesn't fall short of the students' expectations.

On the night of the 21st, 150 students—some in wheelchairs, others with less evident medical conditions—will be wearing beautiful formal gowns and tuxedos (donated by local retailers). Their well-coiffed hairdos and manicured nails will be a gift from local beauty schools. A DJ will play favorite tunes, while chaperones stand by drinking punch and eating cookies. Toward the end of the night—which many volunteers have described as "magical,"—a shower of balloons will fall over the couples on the dance floor.

"Each of these students deserves a beautiful night," says Lynn Martin, a volunteer who has coordinated the event for the past 16 years. "We haven't overlooked any detail. There will be a photographer to take portraits of the students, corsages for the girls and boutonnieres for the boys. Teacher Jerry Mitchell will be in charge of decorating the ballroom."

In addition to the students from Walker, special education boys and girls from other district high schools, including Pinkston, Spruce, Molina, White and Samuell, will be present...and that's as much an incentive to attend the dance as getting dressed up.

"I'm excited about dancing with the girls from other schools," said student Donald McGowan, who also is looking forward to wearing his white tuxedo with suspenders.

According to Mrs. Martin, the parents are as excited as the students about the upcoming event. "On prom night, they'll bring their children and stay—some because their child's medical condition merits constant supervision, but most of them stay because the night is a symbol of accomplishment. I look at these students on prom night, the way they look so happy and proud. You have to admire them. It has not been easy for them to make it this far."

Contact: DISD Media Relations Department, 972/925-3900

Dallas Independent School District
3700  Ross Ave
Dallas, TX 75204
(972) 925-3700