Kewanee High School students throw prom for classmates with special needs

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KEWANEE, Illinois -- Students at Kewanee High School put together a prom dedicated to their classmates with special needs.

The dance included nearly 100 students from five different schools. It wrapped up Kewanee High School's "Abilities Awareness Week," which went from April 23 - 27.

The dance was put on by student members of the Key Club, which is a volunteer and service organization aimed at positively impacting the community.

Kewanee student and Key Club member Hope Thorp said the drive to help organize this event came from personal experience.

"I myself have two sisters that have special needs and I see how it affects them to not be part of things like this," she said.

It took about a month to plan everything, Thorp said.  The day before the dance, between 40 and 50 students helped decorate the gym.

The attendees danced, socialized, and got to meet some popular movie characters, like Batman, Superman, Ariel, and Cinderella.

Student Anna Peterson said she enjoyed dancing and hanging out with her friends and teachers.

"I got ready by getting my dress on and getting my hair done," she said. During the event she said what was going through her head was "how amazing this is."

Another student, Isaac Hernandez, said he was enjoying some "dance offs," describing himself as the "dance master."

"I think (my classmates) enjoyed my dancing skills," he said.

"It's just neat because the kids here treat them like their own, it's one happy family out here," said Sue Brody, who's daughter attended the dance. "It doesn't matter what your ability or disability is, you're still included."

2018 was the prom's inaugural year. Student organizers said they planned to make this an annual event.

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