Miami-Dade Schools Hold Prom for Students With Special Needs

Miami-Dade County Public Schools celebrated senior prom Tuesday for their students with special needs.

It was a day of dancing, dressing up, and even crowning a king and queen at the Double Tree by Hilton Miami Airport and Convention Center. The prom was a chance for 400 students with special needs in the district to embrace their differences.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said he's never missed a special needs prom.

"Our kids on the autism spectrum have the same heart, the same mind, the same ambitions and dreams," said Carvalho.

But those dreams don't come true without a little help from outstanding teachers, like Coral Park High School's Leverne Washington. Washington has been dancing since he was 18, but now he's bringing his passion to the classroom and the stage.

"I decided to bring it to kids with special needs and see what they can do with it," said Washington. "It gives them a chance to express themselves through movement."

Washington pairs his students with special needs with other kids at the school to put together the 16th Street Dance Crew.

One of Mr. Washington's students, Diego Reyes, shines on stage.

"We're going to the prom," said Diego. "We made the biggest greatest show in the whole world!"

For Diego and the rest of the students, it is the greatest show in the world. The crew also performs at several stages across the community throughout the school year.

"It is an amazing thing just to see them smile and to see them glow," said Washington. "I plan to keep doing this and growing it each year."

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