Best Buddies Celebrates Holiday Season


A group of Best Buddies students (photo by Russell Dearing)

Russell Dearing, Staff Writer

For Homewood’s students with intellectual or developmental disabilities, it sure is the most wonderful time of the year.

Leigha McLendon with Oliver Griffith, one of her students (photo by Russell Dearing)

On Thursday, Dec. 1, Homewood High School’s Best Buddies program hosted classes for intellectual or developmental disabilities from the middle school and all three elementary schools for their yearly Holiday Rock Party.

This annual event generates a laughter-filled, spirited gym filled with music, games, and joy. The atmosphere upon entering the gym was nothing short of jubilant, everyone was dancing to the music provided by DJ Fuzzy, eating pizza and cookies, and just enjoying themselves.

Included in the festivities were a number of holiday activities such as a snow-dodgeball fight, bean bag toss, candy cane race, obstacle course, and even Santa Claus himself.

The celebration is not only a great event for students but also for the adults that put it together. Led by the Adaptive PE instructor for all of Homewood City School, Debbie Bailey, faculty from all five schools come together to give the students they love a party they won’t forget. But for the teachers, this event is cherished for other reasons.

Leigha McLendon, a special education instructor at Hall Kent, explains that not only does this give students “a chance to interact with these kids they do not normally get to in their everyday lives,” but it also gives the teachers an excuse to see students that have graduated from their respective schools.

Leigha McLendon with another one of her favorite students, Cooper Sparks (photo by Russell Dearing)

Moreover, the party allows students to spend time with their teachers in a non-formal setting. McLendon says this is her favorite part because it gives these students, some of which struggle to focus during normal school hours, an opportunity to escape these typical restrictions.

As always, this party was an excellent kick-off to the holiday season and will be for years to come.