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LCSS Special Needs Gala called a huge hit
FHF couple dance
The third annual LCSS Special Needs Gala was a huge hit, according to sponsor Charlie Moon.
For the third year, Bradwell’s Friends Helping Friends raised the money for, organized and hosted the prom for special needs students. Special needs students, their families and staffers from Bradwell, Liberty County High and the Transition Academy were the guests of honor. Also in attendance were school administrators such as Bradwell Principal Toriano Gilbert, Department of Exceptional Learning staffers, bus drivers and district dignitaries such as school board Chairman Lilly Baker and student services Director Dr. Kathy Moody.
“I appreciate Mr. Moon and the Bradwell staff for an excellent event,” Baker, who has attended all three galas, said. “I’m glad to be a part of this wonderful gala.”
“It’s our gift to the entire LCSS special needs community,” Moon, who is a BI special needs teacher, said. “All of these students are certainly allowed to go to their school’s prom, and some do. We just know how tricky it can be for families, so we give them this outlet, so they can have an awesome time with their peers.”
FHF is made up of BI students who connect special needs students with their peers in the general education community.
For the first time, BI football players helped out. FHF officer Ayanna Jones had asked coach Ross Couch and 15 players jumped in, even after helping FHF with LCSS Special Olympics Friday morning. Then at 1:30, they were at BI, helping FHF members decorate until 7, back at 4:30 Saturday for the event, hosting, then cleaning up until 10.
Lineman Brendon Brittignham said, “Sure, it was a long weekend. But, it was a great way for us to give back to the community.”
Tight end Michael Haggerty said, “Coach Couch asked if any of us could help. I thought it would be fun, so we jumped in.”
Contractors PCSI, Inc. also helped. They are part of a national organization that employs special needs adults. Over the years the company has donated $10,000. It is headed by Julia Agosto, Daryl Speir and Allen Swinton. Agosto won a nation service award with the company last year for her work with FHF.
“We’re honored to help with FHF and the vision we share,” she said. “We want to be their partner for as long as they’ll have us.”
Guests were treated to dinner as special needs students, including Anwar Folkes and Takie Roberts performed.
“The gala was conducted in a spectacular fashion showcasing many of the participants’ talents,” Moody said. “I can’t wait to attend next year!”
FHF scholarships were announced, and members Keayana Howard, Ayana Jones and Guin Goss won.
“I was touched because I work hard and love what we do for our special needs children,” Jones said
Howard said, “I was incredibly happy to be awarded for work I’m so passionate about.”
After the dinner, special needs students were escorted down a red carpet, spotlighting the stars of the night.
Bradwell alumnus Deejay Lisette from Atlanta provided dance music.
The venue was engulfed in an underwater fantasy designed by BI English teacher and yearbook sponsor Laura Kupres, who has designed the school’s prom in recent years.
“Kupres did an incredible job of taking the theme FHF students chose, and designing an amazing underwater fantasy,” Moon said. “Most people have absolutely no idea how much work and planning it takes to do something like this, but Kupres was incredible.”
Kupres said students helped.
“In just the decorations alone, the students and I put in over 35 hours of work to design and build,” she said. “Many of the FHF members have been wonderfully dedicated in creating a memorable and fun event for the attendees.”
Moon said FHF members hope to make next year’s gala a blowout and invite other area high schools.
“Part of the mission of FHF is to spread their program,” he said. “They have plans for next year’s gala, and other activities, that should facilitate that.”

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