KINGSPORT — Twenty special needs students from Dobyns-Bennett High School and 34 D-B seniors in the BUDS program danced the midday away on Thursday at the 10th annual BUDS Prom, which was held at the Allandale Picnic Pavilion.
The event, also called the BUDS Alternative Prom, gives the senior BUDS — short for Buddies Understanding Different Students — time to celebrate with the special needs students with whom they mentor during the school year. The special needs students are in the Functional Academic classes, formerly known as Life Skills.
From about 11 a.m. to about 1:15 p.m., the students ate and danced to music from a disc jockey.
Christie Culbertson, a Functional Academic teacher at D-B, and Milton Carter of the Downtown Rotary Club of Kingsport said BUDS started in 2007 to allow Life Skills students to interact with other high school students — with selected seniors serving as tutors. Since April is prom season, in 2010 the Rotary Club and BUDS decided to start a prom for the special needs students, although those students also can attend the more formal D-B prom. The club sponsors and helps staff the annual program, which includes a photographer.
Among those dancing early Thursday afternoon were Functional Academic senior Anthony Walker and BUDS member Molli Hopkins, as well as Funcational Academic students Dakota Hall, a senior, and Elisabeth Cowart, a freshman, with BUDS member Caysee Phillips.