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'A Day to Remember' - Source Connection news papers

Posted on May 31,2017
Filed Under Entertainment , Local Style,

Students from nine high schools – Chantilly, Herndon, Lake Braddock, Lee, Oakton, Robinson, Stuart, Westfield and Woodson — take to the dance floor. Photo by Ashley Claire Simpson

Source Connection news papers

By Ashley Claire Simpson

HERNDON - More than 16 years ago, Poplar Tree Elementary School’s then special education teacher, Chris Pascarella, had a vision of her students’ upcoming high school experience. She just couldn’t accept the reality that the students before her, who loved music and moving to all kinds of rhythms, might not get to experience a high school prom. Pascarella felt that they deserved a signature dance where they could make some lifelong memories. So, she organized a small prom specifically for high school students with special needs.

Since the early 2000s, this prom, with each year’s theme being “A Day to Remember,” has grown into an annual springtime event that brings hundreds of students together from schools across Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). This May, 336 high school students were able to experience the 16th Annual Day Prom — all with the help of 205 teachers and general education student volunteers.

“When I taught special needs students at Poplar Tree, I knew they loved music,” Pascarella said. “When they were old enough to be going to high school, I started organizing a small dance for the special needs students at Herndon High School and two other schools. At first, we had the event at the Hyatt in Reston, but we’ve since outgrown that space. It grew from three schools, to now students in special ed programs from 18 schools.”

Source Connection news papers

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