The Waterford in Springfield hosted the fifth annual day prom event for Key Center School students Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Springfield. Students danced and enjoyed food and drinks prepared by Waterford's Executive Chef Michael Rogers.
The Key Center School serves students in Fairfax County and surrounding areas who have intellectual disabilities and autism.
Students from Lee High School have been volunteering twice a month to help prepare the students for the big day and they were also available to escort students at the Waterford during the event. Students with the cosmetology program at Edison High School also helped by doing hair and makeup before the students were taken to the Waterford.
"I wanted to contribute to this event because I’ve heard from past peer mediators who help at the dance that the kids get really happy and have a lot of fun," said Lee student Michael Sekyer. "I wanted to help them have a memorable experience at their prom."
Madison Thammavong, also a student at Lee, said volunteering and being able to escort the students from Key Center is not an opportunity everyone has.
"It’s one of those events that only high school students get to experience for themselves and this is what makes you remember your time at that school. My goal is to make it memorable for them," she said.
Keith Clark, the sponsor for the event and the founder and president/CEO of Waterford, said every student should experience prom and this event was an opportunity to create memories for Key Center students.
“Every high school student deserves a prom, and this Day Prom gives the students from Key Center School a chance to have a gorgeous, wonderful experience that hopefully will give them beautiful memories to remember forever,” he said.
Key Center students were very excited about the event. As they arrived on the red carped set up by Key Center faculty and staff at the Waterford, many of them were all smiles and within minutes the group of students hit the dance floor with their escorts from Lee High School — dancing to music from the Black Eyed Peas to Justin Timberlake.
When asked earlier in the week what was happening on Friday, many Key Center students remembered the event immediately and had plans to enjoy the food, dance and take a lot of photos with friends.
Daniel Golden, a Key Center student, was looking forward to dancing at the day prom and hoped the D.J. would play “Never Knew about Love Before” and “Rock with You.”
Debbie Cully, Key Center School teacher and resource and community coordinator, said a lot of planning went into the event with the help of Lee High School students, and faculty and staff. They also receive support from the PTA.
"We just want our students to be happy with their friends at Key Center and Lee High School. To experience getting all dressed up in a fancy dress or suit. Get their hair and makeup done by their friends at Edison Academy," she said. "To get their picture taken at the prom and to know it’s a very special day for them! Our students are so excited about getting on the bus, knowing where they are going and being able to dance with all of their friends."
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