For many high school students, prom is a magical dance they look forward to for a long time before the special night finally arrives.
However, some students never get the opportunity to enjoy the experience, unlike the other students who are able to attend.
Beginning in September, the Reach Out Commission began planning Morp, a dance for students with special needs.
Supervisors Abby Khouri and Sofia Zwass, along with commissioners Allison Granet, Thashmika Singh, Nicole Turk, and Darian Dennler all worked together, along with volunteers, to plan a dance that would be accessible to students who couldn’t go to prom due to mental, physical, or social reasons. They wanted to create a small, comfortable environment that would allow students to enjoy themselves and test out their social skills while getting the feeling of a real high school dance.
Supervisor Sofia Zwass said, “We decided that these students deserved a special dance just for themselves where they could still experience a real high school dance. We wanted to make Morp bigger than any other hangout we’ve done before because there was a need for these students to experience a dance even if they weren’t comfortable going to an all-school dance.”
After months of preparation, with the help of volunteers, Morp occurred on March 3.
As students arrived at the Student Union, they were met by a beautiful sight of Old Hollywood style decorations, tables set up with games, and a group of people, with huge smiles on their faces, dancing together, with no awkwardness or limitations, only loving and encouraging interactions that moved all whom participated.
Freshman and attendee Kaija Villigrand said, “Going to the dance made me really happy. It made me feel so good to watch these kids have the time of their lives and be the center of attention. This dance genuinely made them feel so special.”
Throughout the night, circles of students surrounded the special needs students, cheering them on or joining them while they danced. Students were dancing hand-in-hand and groups of students gathered around belting out lyrics to a song.
Social Academic Communication (SAC) teacher Michelle Morris said, “I had tears in my eyes watching my students fully immerse themselves in this experience and enjoying it so much and at the same time knowing that their selfless peers had made it happen. What a beautiful community!”
Morp was a night to be remembered by all, and a huge achievement by not only the Reach Out Commission, but also those who volunteered and attended.
Opportunities like these don’t arise often for the special needs students, but when they do, they leave an impact on them for a long time. The love and affection at the event is what gives students the ability to step outside of their comfort zones, all while surrounded by their peers together for a night of dancing and fun.