HPU Students Spread Love at Special Valentine’s Dance

Feb 10th, 2022

HPU Students Spread Love at Special Valentine’s Dance

HIGH POINT, N.C., Feb. 10, 2022 – The High Point community felt the love at a special Valentine’s dance hosted by High Point University students and High Point Parks and Recreation’s ASPIRE (Adaptive Sports, Programs and Inclusive Recreation) unit.

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The local community was invited for dancing, games and food at the Roy B. Culler, Jr. Senior Center, currently located inside High Point University’s Community Center space. Pictured from left to right are HPU student Shafer Heimel and participant Gabby Arthur.

The local community was invited for dancing, games and food on Feb.  8 at the Roy B. Culler, Jr. Senior Center, currently located inside High Point University’s Community Center space. Each year, HPU’s Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) organizes the holiday event. Activities included a dance, special Valentine’s Day crafts, painting a kayak for ASPIRE’s kayak program and games.

“We are very thankful for our partnership with HPU,” said Stephanie Hedgecock, local coordinator for the Special Olympics of High Point. “They bring a lot of positive energy to these dances, and these dances bring the inclusive social piece to life for our participants. They really enjoy seeing their friends and making new friends.”

The SCEC co-hosted two dances in the fall semester in October and December. Participants dressed up in Halloween costumes and had a special visit from Santa Claus at the dances.

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Jenna Cauda, an HPU student pictured left, and participant Nikki Taylor, work on a drawing together as part of the event’s activities. Activities included a dance, special Valentine’s Day crafts, painting a kayak for ASPIRE’s kayak program and games.

“Working with individuals with disabilities in the community has always been something I have been passionate about,” said Fiona Petracca, a junior special education major. “I love being a part of the Special Pops dances because I am able to make a variety of people happy, feel appreciated and feel special. I want all people to know that they are valued for who they are and what they do.”

This event is a way for HPU students to connect with, develop friendships and support individuals in the High Point community. The SCEC consists of majors from across campus with a common interest in promoting awareness and providing support for individuals with disabilities. The student organization has hosted this event and others over the last 15 years.