Through double doors adorned with ghost decorations and spider webs was Best Buddies’ annual Halloween party, an event that drew in students and parents from across the county.
“Our Halloween party is the largest event of the year, and we open admission to all the neighboring schools in Broward,” President Shaddi Abdala said. “With the help of our amazing advisors, we put together the elaborate decorations and set up the cafeteria for a spooktacular party.”
Held on Wednesday, October 25 between six and eight p.m., the party aimed to bring together students that are part of the exceptional student education (ESE) program for a night of pizza, dancing and intricate costumes. With what the club called a strong turnout, Buddies and their matches alike mingled with new (and heavily made-up) faces.
Junior Kat Kotrupas, president of the Western High School Best Buddies chapter, said she learned about the event through the weekly district newsletter.
“After I saw this event in the email newsletter, I told my chapter about it,” she said. “We just showed up, and it’s really nice. It’s always a good opportunity to get to meet other Buddies from different chapters, and they can make connections and make friends.”
Mickey Gelman, an ESE ambassador and student at CCHS, was finally matched with childhood friend Jakob Wolk earlier this year at the Match Party, where members were matched up with Buddies in the program. Adorned in a pirate outfit and eye patch, Gelman spoke of his enthusiasm about the event, which he attended with Wolk.
“I introduced [Jakob] to everyone around the table,” Gelman said. “It’s good tonight, it’s fun.”
“There are so many different events just to come out and meet all the Buddies from around the county,” Wolk added.
Abdala and her officer team and advisor have been working on the party since the beginning of the school year, as the work involved in hosting such an event, especially when involving other schools, was intense.
“We had to begin by promoting the event, and made an RSVP form that allowed us to get a count of the number of guests that we needed to order food for,” she said. “We arranged for a DJ to come for the event as well… we wanted it to be memorable for our members and visiting schools, and it certainly was.”
Principal Wendy Doll, dressed as the Mad Hatter for the party, took to Twitter after the event to post photos and congratulate the club on a job well done, and she didn’t seem to be the only one impressed with the sophistication of the event and the dedication of the party-goers.
Next year, Best Buddies hopes to host the district-wide event once again with as much success as this year’s Halloween party.
“The Buddies definitely enjoy this,” Kotrupas said. “They love dressing up; you can see they go all out because they love Halloween. It’s a really great thing for [CCHS] to host.”
Photo by Sabrine Brismeur