Student leaders reached out to special-needs students with a dance party.
The first "Panther Pals Dance" took place last Friday at the Pioneer Valley High School campus and was sponsored by the student council. The event involved about 114 special-needs students from throughout the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.
During the two-hour gathering, student volunteers and staff made sure the action and moves never stopped.
Special-needs student and PVHS DJ Jose Damian Puga, who is also blind, played plenty of popular music. Michael Jackson was one of the crowd's favorites. Ice cream was also provided and devoured.
Alyssa Alvarez described the dance that also involved Santa Maria and Ernest Righetti High School students as one of "unity."
"This was the best dance of the year!'' said Alvarez, who serves as the student council's dance commissioner. "We usually do this dance with the students from our school. It was nice to have everybody together. We want to do it again!''
Special -ducation teacher Jody Dowell said all the students were positively engaged.
"Words simply don't give justice, but in a weak attempt to convey some gratitude,” Dowell said. “These young people (student council and volunteers) truly represented what is best about being from Pioneer Valley.”
Every student received a "Horton Hears A Who" fuzzy ball to represent how much there is to value in life, according to PVHS activity director Lisa Walters.
— Kenny Klein is a media affairs coordinator for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.