by Lucas Rivera
This past Saturday the LINK club hosted a party in the CCHS Cafeteria for students with special needs. The goal was to celebrate the distinguished guests and give them a school dance experience to remember for years to come. Under the leadership of LINK's president, John-Barry Bertamatti, there were no expenses spared, with red carpets, gifts for all who attended, and star awards, ensuring that the VIP guests had the time of their lives. The night was a major success with over 175 students, both guests and volunteers, dancing the night away. The parents of the children were thrilled with the party, and several sent messages expressing their appreciation and gratitude.
"Thank you for making my mom dreams come true and allowing my son to have a prom. I never thought he would get this opportunity," one parent said.
"What you all are doing at Columbus for the special needs community is amazing and we are so grateful. Thank you for an unforgettable night," another parent added.
The LINK Club's focus was to make sure that each and every child at the party was not only having fun but also being accepted and embraced by everyone else at the party. LINK Club moderator and event coordinator Mrs. Gonzalez-Rojas, who also runs the link club with Mrs. Martinez, discussed the LINK Club's mission.
"Our mission through LINK Club is to promote awareness and inclusion of the special needs community," Gonzalez-Rojas said.
She said the party was meticulously put together over the course of many long months. The idea for a "Night of the Stars" was born and ever since LINK president John-Barry and their officers, Benjamin Blackburn, Jacob Thacker, Aaron Arca, and Sebastian Tamayo, worked throughout the year to see the idea become reality. Mrs. Gonzalez-Rojas went on to state that she could not have been happier with the result with teens from all different types of lives and all different abilities dancing and celebrating together.
The event couldn't have been possible without the contributions of many CCHS community members from teachers, counselors, staff and volunteers.
Bertamatti was extremely pleased to see the fruits of LINK's labor saying,
"I loved seeing how all of our volunteers stepped up and came together to make this night so special. It was amazing to celebrate them and give them a chance to have prom."
But the LINK club isn't done yet. There are still many events in the future to look forward to. The club will be building on this success next year with another Night of the Stars, and some additional events. LINK is planning a Special Olympics Softball and Football clinic, a Friendsgiving event, and an inclusion basketball game.
The next LINK Club meeting is May if any student is interested in joining.