A Night to Remember Prom was featured in USA Today. Here is part of the article with a link to the rest on USA Today’s website.
With a red carpet rolled out, paparazzi snapping away and a “You’re the Best!” sign waving, John Hengesbaugh struts through the cheering crowd in his tuxedo, giving high fives and waving the whole way.
“It was like I was a celebrity,” says Hengesbaugh, 22. “Like I was walking on clouds.”
Hengesbaugh, who has Down syndrome, was one of 425 special-needs students dubbed “honored guests” from 70 schools in San Diego County dancing the night away at A Night to Remember, one of a growing number of proms for special-needs students across the country.
The proms, which are sponsored by a variety of organizations, are all different and include students with special needs from blindness to autism. But two things are universal: lots of dancing and no judgment.
“At his school proms, John always feels like an outsider,” says mom Judy Hengesbaugh. “But at this event, everybody who goes to the prom feels like they are in the in crowd. Every boy is the king. Every girl is the queen. Every child is greeted as if they are the most important person.”
It’s clear why. At A Night to Remember, prom-goers get the full treatment: From hairdos and makeup to flowers, jewelry, dresses, tuxedos, pictures and limo rides, everything is free, paid for by donors.