VICTORVILLE — The Victor Valley Union High School District continued an annual tradition recently with its Special Needs Prom, bringing together approximately 300 students from across the district to participate in a high school rite of passage.
While all students can attend the proms of their respective schools, this districtwide event provides an additional opportunity for special needs students. The district’s three large high schools take turns hosting the event, and this year it was held at Victor Valley High School.
“Activities are a vital part of the high school experience,” VVUHSD Superintendent Carl Coles said. “Events like this exemplify one of our district’s key principles: VVUHSD is a place for everyone. The students and staff involved did an amazing job making this happen.”
The planning for this year’s event was chaired by Victor Valley High teacher and AVID Coordinator Shannen Avila. She said about 20 of her students in the VVHS Sunshine Club did extensive work to make the prom happen for their classmates.
“They planned everything from beginning to end,” Avila said. “They organized, they planned, they got donations, they did setup, cleanup — everything.”
High school students in all grade levels were bussed to the prom, which was held during the school day in the VVHS gymnasium. Staff from around the district served as chaperones, and students’ parents were also able to accompany them.
The event featured a DJ, a photo booth, and food provided by VVHS culinary students. Avila said Family Engagement Liaison Veronica Ginorio and several parents created centerpieces and decorations. One of the most popular highlights was a dancer in a larger-than-life robot suit covered in multicolor LEDs.
“I think it went beautifully,” Avila said. “It was an amazing event; the kids had a spectacular time and the adults really enjoyed it as well. It will be one of those lifelong memories for everyone involved.”
TOP: Victor Valley Union High School District students dance with an LED “robot” during the district’s Special Needs Prom. BOTTOM: Silverado High School student Joshua Arensdorff, left, poses in the photo booth with Silverado teacher Emily Ekstrand at the Victor Valley Union High School District Special Needs Prom.