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Staples High School Hosts the 12th Annual Buddy Ball in Westport

by CASSANDRA HENDERSON
Best Buddies Connecticut
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Stars posing on the red carpet...
The spectacular entrance to the Ball, complete with custom-made Oscar statues
 
Staples Chapter President, Avery Vogt, and her Buddy, Dragen Lesko.


Members from the Brien McMahon HS chapter show off their fantastic outfits


Staples chapter members, Courtney Dionne and Andor Mate, share a dance


Participants join in the conga line!
 
The Staples High School chapter of Best Buddies Connecticut hosted the 12th annual Buddy Ball in Westport on April 2nd.

The student leaders, chapter members, and Faculty Advisor, Patty McQuone, worked for months to plan and execute this state-wide event which allows students from chapters in the South/West region of the state to come together and enjoy a night of music, food, dancing, and friendship.

Patty worked for months with her students to ensure that the night was a success. When asked about her experience in organizing and attending this event, she said, “This was my first year as a Best Buddies advisor and I have been so excited for this Ball.

A lot of planning went into this by all of the Buddies, Peer Buddies, parents, and Staples staff. We had students from several different schools, parents, and even Best Buddies Connecticut staff members. So many people and so much fun! We can not wait for next year.”

The theme of this year's Ball was "Hollywood" and students came dressed to impress, showcasing modern prom attire and old Hollywood glamour alike. The cafeteria was decorated with all sorts of fun references to film, including popcorn centerpieces and movie posters.

Like any great Hollywood event, however, the entrance was key! The Staples chapter arranged for a red carpet entrance complete with "paparazzi" cheering and taking pictures as students arrived, stars on the Walk of Fame with the names of each chapter in the region, and of course cut-outs of other celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis, who said several catchphrases as students walked by. To make this grand entrance perfect, the Staples chapter even had floor-to-ceiling cut-outs of Oscar statues made.

Not only did the Staples chapter put together a stunning venue for their Ball, they also booked fantastic entertainment. Amazed by the talent of the Kandoo Band, whom they had seen perform at the 2010 BBCT Friendship Walk, the Staples chapter asked them to play at their event.

Although the band is based in Connecticut, the members come from different parts of the country and getting together for rehearsals and performances is often inconvenient and expensive.

To offset the cost and burden of long-distance travel, the Staples chapter offered the band members the opportunity to do some recording in the school's own professional recording studio.

The band arrived a few days early and was able to spend time recording their own music at the school. The Kandoo Band performed for several hours and really amazed everyone with their musical abilities.

Chapter members from all over the state had a great time dancing to the live music and showing off their skills on the dance floor. To learn more about the Kandoo Band go to: www.kandooband.com.

The Staples chapter not only had to plan and execute the event, they had to raise the funds for it as well. The chapter held an activity at the Longshore Club Park skating rink on February 12th.

The skating rink generously donated a portion of their proceeds to the club that day and additionally the Staples chapter held raffles during the event for some fantastic prizes.

Overall, the club made almost $2000 in one afternoon and was able to fund the Buddy Ball because of the money they raised in February.

The Buddy Ball provides students from around the state who participate in Best Buddies with the opportunity to socialize with fellow participants from different schools. It is this camaraderie that truly makes the night so special.

As incoming Chapter President Sami Schwaeber said, “I think the Best Buddies Ball is a social event that is extremely special and different from any other event. Walking into the ball, there are no barriers. I found myself grabbing the hands of people I have never met before to share a dance or to talk about their lives.

"Nobody seems to care what dress you’re wearing or what your hair looks like. It doesn't matter what school you go to. Every one in that room will only be looking at your heart, and they will hold your hand no matter who you are.”

The Staples chapter has selflessly donated their time and dedication to Best Buddies. They worked tirelessly to ensure that students from other chapters from around the state were able to have an amazing night.

It is this spirit of generosity and hospitality that reflects the Best Buddies mission and allowed friends to come together in celebration. It was truly a night to remember. Congratulations to the Staples chapter on a job well done!
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