Circle of Friend holds annual Grand Ball


Photo by Yasmin Haq

Junior Hannah Buell poses with a poster given to her by her date to the Grand Ball.

Circle of Friends is holding their annual Grand Ball at Gleneagles Country Club on April 9 at 6 p.m.  This year the theme for the ball is “beach.”

Academic Life Skills (ALS) teacher Karen Cummings describes the Grand Ball as the special needs students’ prom.

“[The special education students] are asked by their dates with posters, and it’s a huge deal when they’re asked to be a date to the Grand Ball,” Cummings said. “It’s just so exciting.”

Junior Adam Atwood was asked to the Grand Ball by senior Caroline Stockdale. Stockdale had made a poster that was decorated with lights and read, ‘let’s light up the night at Grand Ball.’

“I said, ‘I’d love to go to the Grand Ball with you,’” Atwood said. “I’m so excited to see my date, Caroline.”

The price to attend is $15 for Circle of Friends members and $28 for other students or staff, dinner is included.

“Anyone can attend,” Cummings said. “Our Circle of Friends members get a discounted rate, and then any other students that want to attend can attend. They just have to pay the full dinner price. Principals attend, we have school board members that attend, [and] we’ve had city council members attend in the past.”

Circle of Friends relies mostly on fundraising and donations to finance the Grand Ball. Limousines are frequently donated, and Men’s Wearhouse has supplied tuxedos for all the senior boys.

“We had a parent set up a GoFundMe this year and we made money on that,” Cummings said. “We accept donations of any kind: cash [and] checks.”

When the ball starts, the Circle of Friends students arrive in limousines and are announced after meeting up with their dates. After, they have a sit-down dinner, and then they dance. The general education students usually pay for their date.

“My favorite part is when they arrive, and they meet up with their date and walk through the arches that ROTC does for them,” ALS teacher Linda Doherty said. “And then the dancing; [it] is fun to watch.”

A lot of preparation goes into the Grand Ball, and Cummings said it was one of the biggest events of the year.

“It’s stressful leading up to it, and then the night of, we just thoroughly enjoy ourselves,” Cummings said. “It’s just fun seeing the kids have such a good time. It’s such a special evening.”