Perfect Pals Club unites students

February 11, 2018 — by Shreya Katkere and Kaitlyn Wang

After noticing a distance between Special Education students and general education students, seniors Chloe McGhee and Sadhana Vadrevu decided to restart Perfect Pals, informally known as Buddies Club, in order to promote a more inclusive environment on campus.

“We wanted to create a club that incorporates the students in the Special-Ed program because all they want is to be treated as a regular high school student,” McGhee said. “The club is advocating for equal treatment with them and letting them have fun and enjoy the whole school experience.”

According to Special Education teacher Courtney Crase, because the club is not involved with the formal organization Best Buddies International, the club name needed to be changed 11 years ago from Buddies Club to Perfect Pals.

However, the goal of the club has remained the same: Every Wednesday, Special Education and general education students eat lunch, while talking and getting to know their peers.

“I think it’s a great way for students of all varied abilities and different interests to get together,” Crase said. They have lunch and socialize and it’s pretty casual.”

By meeting every week, students grow closer. Sharing their interests and experiences also enable Special Education students to work on age appropriateness, or doing things that other high schoolers do, Crase said.

“Our students focus on a younger age group, like watching cartoons, so it’s great for them to meet gen-ed students and talk about what movies are out and what’s going on in the newspaper and just casual conversation,” Crase said.

Next year, because co-presidents McGhee and Vadrevu will be graduating, juniors Kiana Steele and Jennah El-Ashmawi will be taking over leadership of the group. In the future, Perfect Pals may expand to connect with students in other schools.  

“Our goal for next year is to involve the elementary and middle school special-ed programs into this club so it is more of a community effort than just a school effort,” McGhee said.

Crase said that it may be difficult for students and family to get together, but if activities are organized in advance, students would benefit from meeting outside of school.

Crase also emphasizes that even a simple greeting can help people feel more included and bring a smile to someone’s face.

“I know that Perfect Pals happens on Wednesdays during lunch, but our students eat in the quad or cafeteria every day,” Crase said. “Maybe just pass by and say ‘hi.’ It’s the same as when you walk down the hallway and you see someone who you’re not really friends with but more of an acquaintance. It would be great if people would just be pleasant to each other.”

 

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