Palmer Home Students Join in Joy Prom
A limousine ride, formal attire, a red carpet entrance and over-the-top decorations sounds like the perfect prom night for any high school student. For ninety-one special needs high school students, Joy Prom offered just that.
Joy Prom, held at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Columbus, Mississippi, started six years ago as an opportunity for special needs students in the Golden Triangle to experience a prom just for them. This year, for the first time, children from Palmer School participated as escorts for the special needs guests.
“Seven Palmer Home students participated this year. We rented tuxes for the boys and formal gowns for the girls,” said Pam Abrams, Director of Education at Palmer School.
Abrams attends Mt. Vernon Baptist Church and has known about the prom for several years. She knew this year she wanted to offer the older students at Palmer School an opportunity to participate.
“Palmer Home doesn’t have it’s own prom, so this was a great opportunity for the students to do something for someone else and go to prom,” said Abrams.
Each student escorted a special needs guest as their date. In addition to Palmer School students, other escorts came from schools throughout Lowndes county and multiple church youth groups. The evening started with a ride in the back of a convertible, and each couple was announced on the red carpet, where a crowd of volunteers gathered to cheer them on. Palmer School students who chose not to participate as escorts cheered on their classmates from the red carpet.
“They had a blast,” said Abrams. “They weren’t there to impress anyone. This night was all about someone else.”
Small groups from area churches provided the food, while nearby restaurants, businesses and organizations provided funds and/or donations for the event. Special guests came from local schools, nursing homes, ACT Centers, and state homes for adults with special needs, all within the Golden Triangle Area.
Abrams also said she expects even higher participation next year, since the students now know what to expect.