The candidates from prom king and queen were announced Wednesday, April 3.
The king candidates are seniors Ryan Bath, Tyler Dubas, Brett Hamilton, Grant Schrepfer and Rafeal Segura-Trujillo
The queen candidates are seniors Schylar Burleson, Bailey Crosbie, Kayla Hamner, Abby Ostronic and Grace Rohrer.
Prom will be held on Saturday, April 13 at Club 1000 and the theme is “An Evening in the Orient.” Voting will take place at the door. Students can purchase prom tickets from registrar Deana Thom in the counseling office.
Cleaning, refilling, and stocking: that’s how senior Tyler Dubas spends his Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the Country Club Café.
Dubas started his job in December 2011 and continued to work through the summer.
“I want to continue working at the Country Club Café at least through high school,” Dubas said.
Because Dubas has a learning disability, the job gives him skills that will help him later in life.
“It helps him learn basic janitorial skills, and it’s a repetitive schedule which allows him to perfect each skill,” special education teacher Rachl Rada said.
Dubas’ main responsibilities include cleaning the tables, counters and dishes, as well as refilling the napkins and paper towels. Along with gaining work experience, there are other perks to his job.
“After I am done cleaning I get hot chocolate, which is my favorite part,” Dubas said.
Along with his teachers, Dubas’ parents also want him to be successful.
“His parents were very involved on getting him a job so he can be a productive citizen,” Rada said.
All the special education students, like Dubas, also help out around the school. Based on their function level, they recycle papers, stock the cafeteria and empty trash. In the spring, they get to use these skills for the Job Olympics.
Rada said that the special education program gets the kids involved in the work force so they can be a successful part of society.
Senior Sammy Le handed junior Tyler Dubas pizza boxes hand-stamped by the special education students for Pizza West on Friday, Jan. 26. She smiled and patted the spot in the shopping cart where he needed to set them.
Twelve students, including Le, met every block except Silver 1 to mentor special education students like Dubas. Tasks like stamping pizza boxes gave special education students practical experiences to participate in. Special education teacher Rachel Rada appreciated the benefits of the class, but believed it could always expand.
“I’ve had a great group of kids this year,” Rada said. “But [the class] can always improve. It would be nice to see more boys involved since I have all boy students.”
While in class, Friends in Learning students worked with the special education students on social and daily living skills such as real world math and reading, trips to the grocery store, job coaching and arts and crafts.
Though Le enjoyed helping the special education students, the task required a lot of patience, a responsibility she found difficult.
“Sometimes you have to be really, really patient,” Le said. “It’s easier to just do everything for [the students], but you really just have to cater to their learning style.”
Maintaining relationships with the special education students proved to require just as much effort as the average relationship.
“[Students with disabilities] are just like us,” Le said. “They have days when they’re cranky and just want to be by themselves. But there are other days when they’re really social.”
Along with the other Friends in Learning students, senior Hannah Brinker built and maintained relationships with the special education students by greeting them in the hallways and helping them get along, a key part of the class.
“I feel like I have a strong relationship with the students,” Brinker said. “I love being around all of them.”
Rada said that Friends in Learning also helped students stand up for their peers with disabilities.
“[This class] helps the general education students advocate for their peers and break down any misconceptions of students with disabilities,” Rada said. “My students [also] learn how to advocate for themselves.”
Recently participating in the Special Olympics State Tournament in November, six students earned gold medals, placing first in the volleyball competition at Okun Fieldhouse. The team included seniors Connor Bickle and Alex Gaulke, juniors Tyler Dubas and Tyler Wilson and sophomores Matthew Nesselrode and Brittany Nicholson.
Pat Dubas is the coordinator and director of Special Olympics Shawnee, and is also one of the coaches of the Shawnee Storm. Coaching them has brought her some of her favorite memories while watching the athletes improve every year.
“My favorite part has to be the smiles on their faces,” Dubas said. “[I love] seeing the joy on an athlete’s face after they have achieved their first hit or scored their first basket. [It’s great to see] the ‘I did it moment’ when an athlete realizes ‘I can do this.’”
Bickle enjoys the opportunities he recieves while participating in Special Olympics.
“Basketball is my favorite sport,” Bickle said. “When I shoot and score it’s so cool.”
The Special Olympics were started in the early 1950s by Eunice Kennedy Shriver to provide sports opportunities to the mentally challenged. Its motto “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,” explains the goals of the unique program. It was also established to supply chances for the intellectually disabled to improve physical fitness, demonstrate courage, have joy in sports and competition and develop skills of interacting with others while participating in athletic activities.
“When I’m there [at the Special Olympics] I get to see friends, meet new people, plus when I get there I get better at basketball,” Wilson said.
Some of these same reasons were why Dubas created the Special Olympics Shawnee program about three years ago. It started with basketball as the only sport and only 13 athletes.
“Special Olympics Shawnee was started in our area to bring more availability and opportunities [for] sports participation to the special needs community [of] western Shawnee and the surrounding communities,” Dubas said.
As a fundraiser for Special Olympics Kansas, the 2012 Polar Plunge is coming to Kansas City on Saturday, Jan. 12. The Polar Plunge is a fundraiser where volunteers jump into frigid waters to benefit the Special Olympics program.