Having a Ball

By Vicki Kriz — June 02, 2008 1 min read
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It’s that time of year again when most high school students are focused on fun in the name of proms, picnics, and beach weeks. Three years ago Helen McCormick, a former teacher from Arkansas, decided it was time for students with disabilities to have their own party and so she organized the Cinderella Ball at her northern Virginia youth center. This year when McCormick began knocking on doors for donations, she traveled to Washington, D.C.’s Willard InterContinental Hotel to ask for left-over decorations, including “almost-dead flowers.” Instead, they offered her their ballroom, according to the Washington Post.

After months of going door-to-door and collecting change outside convenience stores, the students and McCormick raised almost $100,000 for the event. On Saturday night, 100 students entered the storied hotel, just a stone’s throw from the White House. under an arch of swords held by the U.S. Marines in full uniform. Dressed in clothing and jewelry donated for the event, students spun in their wheel chairs and shed their shoes and their insecurities on the dance floor while “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard sang. When 14-year-old Caleigh announced, “We’re going to close the house down,” her father agreed, “That’s right. We are shutting it down.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.