Shelby County hold first annual multi-needs prom at Sterling Castle | Events
There were lots of smiles and plenty of dance moves on display at the first annual Multi-Needs Prom, held February 21 at Sterling Castle in Shelby. The event was organized by the Shelby County Schools Special Education Adapted Physical Education staff and was made possible due to the generosity of numerous community sponsors.
Students from all eight Shelby County high schools attended the event, which featured beautiful masquerade masks the students made to go along with the “masquerade ball” theme. In addition to students with multi-needs, typical students who serve as peer helpers at the various high schools also attended to provide an inclusive environment for their fellow classmates.
“We wanted to provide a special day for our kids while also involving peers and the community,” said Valinda Pate, who organized the event.
All of the students who attended the event agreed it was a lot of fun. Timmy Martin, a 10th grade student at Montevallo High School, said his favorite part of the day was dancing to the popular song “Gangnam Style.”
Binh “Ben” Nguyen, an 11th grade student at Chelsea High School, was particularly impressed with the castle setting. “The castle is really pretty,” Nguyen said. “I like the songs, meeting new people and dancing with them. I didn’t have a date, but I found some pretty girls to dance with. I have had the best time of my life.”
Jaxson Ellis, a 9th grade peer helper from Oak Mountain High School, said they had as much fun as the other students. “It was really awesome to be here,” Ellis said. “It was really amazing to see the smiles on everyone’s faces and to see how much fun they were having. One of the students I work with usually doesn’t smile very much and today I saw him smile for the first time.”
Two students with very large smiles on their faces were Whitney McDurmin and Will Bezkor, who were voted prom king and queen. Whitney is an 11th grade student at Shelby County High School and Will is a 12th grade student at Oak Mountain High School.
Victor and Misty Binkerd, who own Sterling Castle, donated the use of the beautiful venue as a location for the prom. Mrs. Binkerd said the smiles on the students faces was all the payment she needed.
“It was worth it for the hugs and smiles I got today,” she said. “It is wonderful to see them having so much fun. When we built this place, we wanted to be able to share it with others.”
The Binkerd’s son, Brennan, was a peer helper from Shelby County High School who attended the event and also helped make masquerade masks for the students.
Special Education Coordinator Marla Aldrich said the event has been highly anticipated by both students and staff.
“Watching the students prepare for and anticipate this event has been so exciting,” she said. “The planning by the students, teachers, and volunteers has been absolutely overwhelming.
In addition to Sterling Castle, other sponsors for the event included the Sweet Potato Queens of Shelby County, Wilsonville Baptist Church, Joe Ray, Frank Couch, AABCO Rents, Event Rentals Unlimited, and various local businesses.