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Life Skills students attend special prom

By KBell
May 5, 2011 at 12:05 a.m.
Updated May 10, 2011 at 12:10 a.m.

Cuero High School student Kayla Headley takes it all in stride as two young men from the special needs program taunt one another over the affections of their prom dance partner. Proving that boys will be boys regardless of circumstances, their sense of humor was infectious.

ALL OUT PROMThe Life Skills prom offered kids with special needs the full prom experience - with photos, kings and queens, food and refreshments.

It also offered the students something more - hair, makeup and nails provided by Victoria school district's cosmetology students.

One student, Joél W., brought in a photo of how she wanted her hair styled in a half updo. In a white satin dress made by her mom, Joél sat up tall, her hair filled with jewels and eye shadow lightly highlighting her eyes. When she looked in the mirror at her dolled-up self, she said she thought, "lovely."

KINGS AND QUEENSTeachers nominated students from each of the three high school Life Skills classes to be named prom king and queen.

The royalty were:

Scott A. and Lana F.; Dennis F. and Kayla V.; Kiley S. and Latavia W.

CUERO - Dressed to impress in his light blue button-up, Ross G. squeezed his electric wheelchair in a vacant spot to the right of Kayla Headley - a dainty, 16-year-old blonde, whose eyes matched her deep-turquoise dress.

Ross, a 22-year-old Life Skills student had a bone to pick with his equally snazzy classmate, Lee C., who was proudly perched to Kayla's left.

"I see you've been keeping my girl company," Ross teased.

"Your job here is done," Lee, 18, quickly countered.

"My job just started," Ross shot back.

While the two men quipped over their maiden's head, Kayla, the vice president of Cuero High School's Anchor Club, laughed familiarly.

"They're so much fun to be around. They're just truly happy," she said.

The high school Life Skills classes, the Anchor Club and National Honor Society teamed up Thursday to throw the fourth annual prom for the students with special needs.

The class policy only allows for the release of the first initial of those students' last names.

By noon, all of the above were parading around St. Marks Lutheran Church in a conga line, the Life Skills students, set apart from their non-disabled peers only by their corsages and boutonnieres.

And by the time every one was getting down to the "Macarena," the only ones smiling wider than the dancing students were the adults on the sidelines.

"When I see them I feel...," Belinda Lerma took a long time to find a word strong enough and settled on, "rewarded."

With tears freely flowing, Lerma, the family support liaison at the school, said working with the Life Skills program was a job she just fell into 13 years ago.

"I didn't know at the time, but now I know this is where I'm supposed to be," she said. "Just to see the kids have fun ... I don't know what to call it besides rewarding."

The extra prom is fruitful for the non-disabled peers, too.

"I think it's good to see how the effort (we) put into something like this truly makes a difference," said Colton Wauson, president of the Anchor Club. "And they're all really fun to hang out with."

Colton agreed with classmates when they said the Life Skills prom is more laid back and relaxing than regular prom.

"Here you can do whatever you want to do. We're all just here to have fun," Colton said.

He didn't have to tell that to the duo battling it out over Kayla.

"Not on your best day could you lace my boots, sir," Ross again teased Lee.

Ross was just talking about how this would be his last prom, and he'd better find a girlfriend.

He leaned his elbow on the back of Kayla's chair.

"Now, I guess I'm taken."

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