It started out as a deep desire in the mind and heart of one lone Silhouette and quickly developed into an enormous, all-encompassing successful task. That individual was Silhouette Maryland Spicely, whom we will always be indebted to for her tenacity in bringing to us a project that captured the hearts of all who became involved. As a supervisor and instructor in the field of Special Education, her deep desire was to make sure that the children in this aspect of education were not over-looked when it came to social development.
Her idea started a project, which has lasted over 22 years. This was the beginning of the Portsmouth/Suffolk Chapter “Spring Fling.” This social event includes those students in the Portsmouth High Schools who are classified with Trainable or Severe and Profound Disabilities. In other words, it is their version of a yearly “Prom.”
Much work goes into the planning of this event which took place this year on May 18. Numerous individuals, outside sponsors, school officials, administrators, teachers, para-professionals, parents, and the men of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. all give a lending hand when needed.
The “Spring Fling” takes place each year at Wilson High School, which is beautifully decorated according to a chosen theme. Parents and other special guests are also invited. The students get to dress in their best for the evening. “Dress to Impress,” is always one of the objectives for this night. A delectable variety of party foods and punch are served. Music is provided by an energetic D.J who plays music that keeps them on their feet.
Even those who are confined in wheelchairs can move and spin to their favorite tunes. Oh yes, the Silhouettes join in the fun also! We can still do that “Electric Slide.” Pictures are taken and also shared from previous years. Frequently, we will even have some of the students who participated in the “Spring Fling” from several years passed. You see the joy on their faces as they exclaim how the “Spring Fling” was one of the best activates that they experienced during their high school days.
Students receive a special gift to take home to remind them of this special night. A few of these gifts have included caps, banks with starter change, travel cups and toiletries. We also give a small scholarship to the Special Education Department to be used for the students.
At the end of the night, the students also express their gratitude, verbally through poems, hugs, pictures and certificates to us. It brings a wonderful feeling of joy and appreciation. Best of all is the opportunity we get to talk with the parents and guardians. It is quite exhilarating to hear them tell us just how much this activity means to their child and the excitement they receive from the anticipation. They serve as another reminder of why we continue to forge ahead yearly with this project.
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