Written by Audrey Sochor
The students of Port Huron Northern High School’s Renaissance Club are passionate about changing the atmosphere in the school to something positive. They also wanted to do something to give back, so they threw a prom for the special needs students at Northern and Woodlands Developmental Center.
It all paid off for senior Katie Miller, officer of Renaissance Club, when she heard from teachers how excited the students were and the reaction when they came in.
“That just made this whole thing worth it to me, all the stress and anxiety – you know, all the months of planning. It just made it so, so, so worth it to me,” Miller said. “The girls, they walked in to get their hair done and they’re jumpin’ up and down and screaming like us girls always do. You could just tell when they walked in there was this air of excitement.”
The idea first came about when the Port Huron Northern students attended a Jostens Renaissance Conference at Michigan State University in the fall of 2017.
“So many of our students are just to the moon excited about this event,” said Katie Roelens, teacher at Woodland Developmental Center. “We haven’t had an opportunity to have a formal event sponsored for us to come free of charge and it means a lot to all of us. All staff, families and the students.”
Junior Cole Briggs, club officer, said the Renaissance Club decided on the special needs prom because the Woodland students don’t always get to go regular prom. About 40 people attended the dance.
Briggs added the most exciting thing about the event was coming up with the crafty ideas and knowing it was for a good cause.
Not only did the students devote time to arranging the event and decorating the venue, they also partnered with other community organizations. A Beautiful Me donated prom dresses and students at Paul Mitchell cosmetology school offered hair styling and makeup.
“So many people have donated their time and services to put this on and not all of them will be here to see, but if they could be here to see they would be able to tell how happy the students are and it was all worth it,” Roelens said. “So just thank you to everybody. We appreciate it all.”