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‘Some Enchanted Evening’ dance thrills students at Liberty

Liberty Middle School student Drew, center, shares laughs with Disney movie characters during the "Some Enchanted Evening" Reunion Dance. (CONTRIBUTED)
Liberty Middle School student Drew, center, shares laughs with Disney movie characters during the “Some Enchanted Evening” Reunion Dance. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – May 8 was “Some Enchanted Evening” for the Reunion Dance at Liberty Middle School’s Exceptional Learning Center (ELC).

Guests dressed as princes, princesses and other Disney movie characters. Several Target of Huntsville employees dressed in full costume.

Years ago, Liberty teacher Judy Spray founded the ELC Prom for her daughter, Lauren, and students with severe and multiple disabilities. At the time, “special needs students didn’t attend their high school prom for parents’ fears of their children being ridiculed,” special education teacher Natalie Lane said.

“Because of our community’s … tolerance of diversity, the ‘prom’ has evolved into a reunion dance. These students now attend their high school prom” but the dance’s tradition continues “in honor of Judy and Lauren,” Lane said.

Sadly, Lauren has since passed away. Judy has retired.

About 30 current and past students and 30 other guests enjoyed the dance. Graduates and students now at James Clemens High School returned to campus. Liberty students in Helping Hands, First Priority and cheerleaders volunteered to help.

As guests arrived, they posed for photographs in Disney-themed masks. The partygoers enjoyed pizza, fruits, veggies and other treats donated by Cork and Crust Pizzeria, Stevi B’s Pizza, Marco’s Pizza, Little Ceasar’s, Publix on County Line Road, Sprouts and Kroger in Madison.

Target donated a cake and many decorations. Matt Stevens in Target Human Resources was deejay. “They really loved dancing to songs, (especially) popular tunes by Taylor Swift and Katy Perry,” Lane said.

Liberty student Drew said, “I loved meeting new friends and dancing with friends all night to great music.” Liberty cheerleader Brina said, “The best aspect was the overall learning experience. Sometimes, I get so absorbed in myself that I forget to consider others. I had a blast.”

Dance coordinators include special education teachers Lane, Amanda Garvin and Laurie Viers and Liberty paraprofessionals Diana Aldrup, Juwanna Davis, Mary Anna Draper, Ron Layton and Angie Prall.

Liberty teachers and First Priority sponsors Kristen Gist and Amy Lyons attended, along with Michelle Hyams and Shannon Humphrey from James Clemens special education department.

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