Unified Prom: A special day for everyone

NEWBERRY - Special needs students at Newberry High School have the opportunity to walk the hallways to their very first prom through NHS’s Club Unify.

NHS faculty, staff and students encouraged each of the students as they made their way to prom in their formal attire.

The prom was neither coordinated or planned, but occurred spontaneously.

Promoting inclusion in the community serves as the mission statement for Club Unify. Brooke Shealy, head of Club Unify, plans field trips and group and school-based activities for student members and volunteers. The main event each spring is Unified Prom, where student volunteers escort their “buddy” to this event.

Planning for the prom beings months in advance, with dresses, suits, jewelry and shoes being donated from the community. Food is catered, playlists are created and decorations are arranged with Hannah Rowe, who is in charge of decorating and coordinating NHS Prom each year at the Newberry Country Club.

Students and teachers also vote for Unified Prom King and Queen.

In Spring 2020, Shealy plans to open invitations for Unified Prom to all the high schools in the district.

She added that “everyone deserves a special day” which is what Unified Prom is all about.

Zaria Cooper, student member of Club Unify, was one of many student members who experienced their first prom.

“My experience was amazing. We had dresses that came for us. We took pictures together and danced. I can’t wait for prom this year because I know it will be just as amazing,” she said.

If anyone is interested in donating to Unified Prom, drop off items to the front office at Newberry High School or contact Brooke Shealy at 803-321-2621.