Friday night was a first for special needs students at Flour Bluff High School. They had their very own prom.
Events like these are increasingly held at schools because a typical prom may not be the best fit for students with certain disabilities and sensitivities.
Flour Bluff HS student Tyler Olivarez is the one who thought of bringing this type of event to campus. He tells KRIS 6 News, "I originally got the idea from John Paul, as they do a prom like this. And I felt really inspired to bring this to Flour Bluff and give the children here an opportunity to come to a prom."
But it wasn’t enough to just have the will to have the event. There had to be a way. That included finding dates for all of the special students. The first to step up was Flour Bluff HS football player Durham Harris. The sophomore says one of his teachers put out the call for volunteers.
"He asked the whole class who would like to sign up so I volunteered because I was kind of hoping to make a difference in these kids’ days," Harris explains.
Soon after that, his teammate and friend Cody Fitzpatrick volunteered, and others followed. As Harris remembers, "A lot of the students seemed reluctant at first and I just wanted to jump on it. And it got some of my friends to do it too."
Harris says he was pleased that he and his teammate could lead the way, breaking the stereotype of what a "jock" may be and what student-athletes care about. He says the discipline instilled by his coaches play a big part in his decision.
"What they want us to do is to break the connotation. They want us to be good in the classroom. They want us to work hard. they want us to be just as good of a character as we are a football player."
The heartwarming gestures of Harris and the other students gave the special needs students a comfortable space to be themselves and the freedom to have fun. The special needs prom was a success and gave all of the students a prom night they’re sure to remember.