They wore dresses and tuxes.
They walked the red carpet.
They laughed, they smiled and they cheered.
Then, they danced the night away.
Hundreds attended “Night to Shine,” a prom for people with special needs, held on Feb. 10 at Cypress Creek Middle School in Wesley Chapel.
The idea was to give prom-goers a chance to have a night to remember, at the event being held for the first time in Pasco County.
Grace Community Church, based in Wesley Chapel, hosted the event, with Pastor Jeff Olsen acting as master of ceremonies.
“Night to Shine,” initiated by The Tim Tebow Foundation in 2014, is held simultaneously at venues across the country.
The foundation and local sponsors provide food and entertainment, and as the event approaches its end, a special video message from Tebow and his wife is played for the crowd.
Guests sign up to attend the prom, but there is one caveat: they don’t have a date. Instead, volunteers sign up to be a guest’s “buddy” for the night. Each prom guest spends the evening dancing, dining and enjoying the evening with their “date.”
At the Feb. 10 event in Wesley Chapel, guests attired in formalwear arrived in limos and other fancy rides provided by Lexus of Wesley Chapel.
They were announced to the crowd, as they walked the red carpet into the gym.
Upbeat music played at the three-hour event, which unlike other proms — had no official king and queen.
Instead, a crown or tiara was placed on every guest’s head, and then most of them — even those in wheelchairs — went right back to making dance moves.
Published February 22, 2023
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