It was an event to remember for special needs students in the Tallapoosa County School System as they attended their own prom Thursday.
The carnival-themed prom was held at New Water Farms and about 60 special needs children and their families attended, according to Tallapoosa County Schools lead nurse Tammy Templeton.
“I think it’s awesome,” Dadeville Elementary speech therapist Ashley Ledbetter said. “I think it’s getting better and better every year. It’s great to see the smiles on kids faces.”
Terresa Gaither, a mother of a special needs student, said the prom started three years ago when she was talking to the school system about her son’s individual education plan. Gaither said she saw pictures of other parents children going to prom and wondered if her son could ever attend his own.
“We wanted them to have something that was theirs and it’s grown and grown,” Gaither said.
Templeton said children from 8 to 21 years old attended the prom Thursday. Parent Ellisa Miller said her daughter Juliana liked dancing.
“(The prom) makes her feel just as special,” Miller said. “She’s out there. She’s her own person.”
Every year Aubie the Tiger, mascot of the Auburn Tigers, makes an appearance at the prom.
Templeton said students crafted their own bowties for the circus-themed prom. Students also wore duct tape as suspenders.
Gaither said the children who attend the prom will talk about it weeks after the event is over.
“My dad is 84 years old and my son Bailey is his life, and it’s hard to get him to come to anything but (Thursday) he came here to be with him,” Gaither said. “It’s a good family thing. We like to have the kids’ families so they feel comfortable and have fun. It’s a great time.”
Gaither said the event had 23 student helpers.