Special needs prom held at Wekiva High School

'Evening with the Stars Prom' held for students with disabilities at school

APOPKA, Fla. - For the past few weekends, teens all across Central Florida have planned and prepped for the prom. For a lot of teens with special needs, however, the prom is something they never experience.

But for special needs students at Wekiva High School, Friday was the chance to celebrate and let loose.

[PHOTOS: Special needs prom held at school]

The "Evening with the Stars Prom" was Heather Groeneveld's idea. She's the department chair for students with disabilities at the school.

"They really are feeling proud to be able to say, 'I'm going to prom, I get to go to the prom,'" said Groeneveld.

With the help of volunteers and parents, her vision quickly became reality in just a month.

For Dianne Persaud, having her 20-year-old son, Ameer, attend prom was a day she thought would never come.

"I wasn't sure he was ever going to make it to prom," said Persaud. "We're blessed that he can experience this."

Ameer and dozens of his classmates gathered at the Wekiva High cafeteria for a chance to dress up and be in the spotlight. It was also a time to share special memories with friends.

"To have this wonderful time to spend with all my friends and teacher and parents, someone that cares, I'm just really blessed," said special needs student Nicole Mitchell.

The students also had the chance to attend the Wekiva high prom, but it cost $75 per person.

Groeneveld said there was so much support from the community and parents that the school plans on doing this again.

"It's an amazing feeling to see the pride they take in themselves," said Groeneveld. "The feeling of elation they have getting this attention and recognition."

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