Best Buddies’ second annual Buddy Ball will be held at Webster Groves High School on April 28, from 6-8 p.m. in the PV Commons.
The Buddy Ball is a dance for the club Best Buddies to make sure everyone has the chance to have fun at a high school dance.
According to its website, Best Buddies is an international non for profit group that helps build friendships, integrated employment, develop leadership and inclusive housing. The organization was founded by Anothony K. Shriver in 1989.
The dance started because the 2021 Friendship Dance did not have a sensory friendly area, despite past dances having one. The Buddy Ball was organized to give students a sensory friendly dance free from crowds with quieter music outside to prevent an echo, fairy lights instead of strobe lights and a quiet space inside with games.
“It’s extremely important our school has events like this one to ensure every single person in our community gets to attend a dance,” senior and president Grace Closson said.
Officers have been planning the event since January. The ball will have activities like games, a photobooth, cupcakes baked by the students, decorations that were also made by the students, a car for the students to take pictures with and speeches from the members of the club.
“[Watching the speeches] was such a special moment and made all the planning and time it took to put the event on worth it. I am very excited and hope to see those speeches again,” Closson said.
Although last year about 30-50 people attended, numbers of officers and buddies vary. The group expects more this year, due to inviting other schools.
“The Buddy Ball gives participating members of Best Buddies a safe space to have fun. It provides them with an opportunity to relax, play games and enjoy traditional high school dances. It is important to have an inclusive environment for all students and the Buddy Ball provides that space for our buddies,” sponsor & U.S. history teacher Dontrail Johnson said.
The group meets once a month in Johnson’s room, 276, or the PV commons; however, the buddies meet more frequently, in one of the special school district classrooms called “the apartment” on the third floor during advisory.
Senior Alison Mirriam has been in Best Buddies for all four years of high school. She enjoys the fun activities and seeing her friends. She most looks forward to seeing her friends.
Junior Hanna Lauren is also excited to see her friends at the dance.
Freshman Owen Giliam looks forward to dancing, food and seeing his friends, as this will be his first dance.