Madi Zajicek and Brittany King couldn’t help but dance and laugh with the new friends they had made for the Valentine’s Dance at .
For their senior project, the two CV students organized a dance so special needs kids from around the region could meet new friends and have fun in a dance tailored just for them.
The more than 60 students from , Elizabeth Forward, , Cornell, and Chartiers Valley participated in the high school dance that lasted from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday. The students, who have conditions that range from autism to down syndrome, didn’t have a problem finding new friends through dancing or by bouncing decorative balloons to the music.
“Social skills are a big part about how they’ll make it,” Brittany said. “If they can’t communicate, sometimes they don’t feel included in high school.”
Both Brittany and Madi have relatives with down syndrome, so they understand the need to for contact in social settings.
“It’s important for them to have an enjoyable time because they might not have those experiences,” Madi said. “We wanted to do something more meaningful.”
The two seniors, who are teaching assistants for a couple high school classes, split up the organizing duties and some of the kids who attended the dance even crafted the decorations.
“It’s relieving because they just enjoy simple things,” Brittany said.
That sentiment was echoed by Buffie Fanzo, a life skills teacher at Chartiers Valley, who praised the girls for the importance of their work.
“Socialization is so important for them,” Fanzo said. “These guys have so much fun. The music connects them. They love it.”