Students throw bash for special needs kids

Posted: December 14, 2012

The Winchester Star

Santa Claus (playedby Robert Hurt) and Marissa Clouse, 8, share a laugh while playing a bell and keyboard duet Thursday evening at a party for Arc of the Northern Shenandoah Valley hosted by Sherando High School DECA students.
Rebekah Clouse, 8, lifts Sam Myers, 3, over ballet barres to see his reflection in a mirror at a party for Arc.
Sherando High School DECA members Haley Miles (left), Caroline Bauserman (second from left) and Caitlin Dolan wear Santa hats as they play with Gage Tobin (from left), 6, Zachary Myers, 6, Gabriel Shriver, 5, and Nathaniel Shriver, 2, at a party the DECA club sponsored for Arc of the Northern Shenandoah Valley. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)

STEPHENS CITY — Frederick County students paired with local special needs children on Thursday for a holiday party.

On Thursday night, students involved with the DECA club at Sherando High School hosted the event with the Arc of the Northern Shenandoah Valley.

Arc serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as their families. It is located at 119 Youth Development Court.

“They’re just having a great time running around,” said Deborah Carper, DECA adviser. “This gives them the opportunity to play with other kids and sorta be outside their normal environment.”

Activities included coloring, puzzles, balloon games and music stations. Santa also made an appearance, which delighted the children.

Last year, Sherando’s DECA did a project with Arc on autism. This year, Arc officials contacted the school to say they were interested in doing another function. That’s when the holiday party was born.

About 15 to 20 Arc children turned up at this year’s event.

“It’s just really cool because we can interact with them on a level they don’t usually react on,” said senior McKenna Kendrick, who added that they got to meet “cool kids.”

DECA teaches leadership and marketing skills.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at