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Night To Shine!

A Special Needs Prom Sponsored by Tim Tebow

Photo courtesy of Jaclyn Summers/Maclay Andalusian

As the guests came walking down the red carpet, they shined not only from their outside attire, but from their loving and kind hearts on the inside. This year was the 10th annual year of Night to Shine held at the Antique Car Museum on Friday, Feb. 9. It is a special needs prom where the guests are paired with buddies to dance the night away and make new memories. Tim Tebow sponsors many Night to Shines around the world and Genesis church puts this event on every year.

The night begins when all the buddies and guests trickle in with getting their name tags and being paired up. This prom included a photo station, hair and makeup, karaoke and the dance floor. While the inside of the car museum was filled with so many decorations that were enjoyed by all, outside was limos and party buses taking the guests and buddies around. Redemption Love Farm was a part of the night bringing lots of animals such as baby pigs, llamas, chickens, bunnies, rabbits and more. Numerous guests and buddies headed over to the station to snap a picture with the llamas or hold a baby pig.

“ It has become my favorite night of the year,” parent Lori Harris said. “ It’s the one night I don’t overthink a thing and am completely present in the moment. It’s the one place where you don’t observe any sadness and have the opportunity to see a smile on everyone’s face and live life the way it should be lived everyday. For the night time stands still in a room full of the most meaningful souls I have had the pleasure to get to know.

Each buddy walks their guest down the red carpet and before entering the building, an announcer announces the guests name while they strut down the red carpet into the building. Music plays while the people on the slides of the red carpet cheer super loud and pose for a picture, making their way into the building, allowing for an unforgettable night to unfold. Whether there is a physical or mental disability, the team ensures that every guest is able to benefit from each activity. Entering the night everyone is stranger, but as the night comes to an end, numerous new friends are made.

“ Last year I did not get to visit the karaoke so watching everybody karaoke this year just was top 10/10”, teacher Kaitlyn Dressel said. “ I could not handle one, how cute it was. Two, like how much fun everybody was having, but yeah karaoke I think because I did not get to experience it last year it might have been one of my favorite moments. And then when everybody gets crowned  that one always is super special. So watching everybody get crowned and then this year my date, Cowboy actually went back up to the front and got me a princess crown and then he crowned me and it was really sweet.”

Throughout the night FAMU cheerleaders, FSU cheerleaders and the Golden Girls performed short and sweet simple chants and dances. They went around from guest-to-guest dancing and spinning around. Cheeseburgers and chips were served for dinner, and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Each guest that walked into the building had the biggest smile on their face and brought such joy.

“ My Favorite part about Night to Shine  was definitely hanging out with Bryce,” senior Riley Elliott said. “ He was Jaclyn and I’s buddy and we got to go to a lot of different stations with him and it was so fun to see the joy on his face when he met the FSU cheerleaders because that's his favorite team. And it was also super fun doing karaoke with him and hearing him sing “God so Loved” and I also really enjoyed dancing with everyone and meeting some of Bryce’s friends.

As the night carried on and the last hour of the dance approached, each guest was presented with a crown or tiara, being crowned as royalty. Everyone in the building is appreciated and accepted for just the way they are. The night ended with confetti and goodie bags as the guests and buddies left the building, making Night to Shine one of the most unforgettable and memorable nights of the year.


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Andy Poll

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