Warrior Buddies Host Special Valentine’s Day Dance
More than 200 high school students from communities throughout the North Shore on Saturday, February 4, 2012 partied the night away at Deerfield High School’s first Valentine’s Day Buddy Dance.
Hosted by members of the school’s Warrior Buddies Club, freshmen through seniors from more than a dozen local high schools — including Highland Park, Evanston Township, Niles North, Maine West and Glenbrook North high schools — attended in formal dresses and tuxedos for an evening of dance.
“It was the most amazing evening. It exceeded our expectations,” said Jenna Aronson, a 17-year-old senior from Riverwoods who is the group’s president.
“One of the highlights on the dance floor was a gigantic congo line,” she added. “And there was always a line at the photo booth. The peers and buddies just loved putting on hats, boas and other props in the booth.”
The purpose of the Warrior Buddies Club is to form relationships between special education and general education students to provide a peer support system, Aronson said.
Most of the special education students attending Saturday night had never attended a formal dance, even though most know music, said Stacy Wood, an NSSED special education teacher overseeing the event.
“The Buddies just wanted their special needs friends to experience the fun of going to a special event just like they do,” Wood said.
Aronson said club officers came up with the idea last year after attending a Best Buddies prom at Vernon Hills High School.
“It was so amazing that we thought,’Why don’t we try to do this at our school?’” she said. “So when we came back to school this fall, we contacted the school administration and started planning.”
“The whole club — about 90 general education students and seven special education students — were really gung ho about it.”
Club members sold gum and pizza at lunch time and worked the concession stand at basketball games to raise about $1,000 to make the event happen. That not only paid to decorate the cafeteria in a valentine theme, but also covered pizza and dessert. Chicago Party Events donated the photo booth and props. Bizar Entertainment, which provided a disc jockey and music, and IL Forno Pizza, which provided dinner, discounted their services and wares.
“We painted all the girls’ nails for the dance and some of the girls came early in their dresses to get their hair curled. They were really, really, really excited,” said Aronson, who is considering a career in special education.
Rachel Bernstein, an 18-year-old senior, said she couldn’t wait to share all the Miley Cyrus songs with the others.
Claire Morris, another senior, said she was just as excited about wearing a pretty red dress as she was about attending the affair.
“All the lights went off and the people were happy,” added Eleanor Bernstein, also a senior. “I was excited to boogie.”
Smiles and giggles continually filled the dance floor, Aronson said.
“There were so many signs of love in the room, from the red heart balloons to the tears in the parents’ eyes, that it was truly one of the best nights of my life,” she said.