PORTERVILLE, Calif. - Every week in partnership with the Tulare County Office of Education, we tell stories about South Valley students with great character.
It was all glitter and glam as South Valley students with special needs got to walk the red carpet and attend a high school prom on the campus of Granite Hills High School in Porterville.
The boutonnieres and corsages were blooming, and the camera lights flashing -- ready to capture a night these students will never forget.
"You see them come in and their eyes go all around and you see them smile," said one of the Teacher Advisors for the event, Rich Lambie of Granite Hills High School. "A lot of these kids this is the first time in a prom dress and a tuxedo and you get to feel that joy in their eyes."
The 'Stars in the Hills Prom' annual event is organized and hosted by South Valley high school community service clubs; like the Pivot Club at Monache High School and the Rotary Interact Club at Granite Hills High School.
Volunteers from both high schools gave up their Saturday night, and put in months of planning, to make sure their friends got the full prom experience.
"Here at this prom they are the stars of the show," said Andy Garcia a member of the Rotary Interact Club at Granite Hills. "So if they were at a regular prom they wouldn't have the spotlight on them, and here we really stress having the spotlight on them, to make them feel really special."
It was easy to see the excitement on the student's faces.
"Dancing with her here means so much to me," prom attendee, Tyler Wilson, said about coming to the prom with his fiance, Ashley Savage.
When asked what she was most looking forward to prom attendee Misty Lopez said: "Dance. And have fun."
A night filled with dancing, decorations, and dinner. A night with a simple goal.
"We make them feel like they are not just a special ed class. They are just like everyone else and we want to make them feel comfortable," Monache High School Pivot Club member Emily Adame said.
President of the Pivot Club, Katie Land adds:
"Everyone just loves them. They are such a light. They are always happy and it's great to see their faces everyday."
Prom, a rite of passage, some high school kids may take for granted. But not these kids, and not tonight, as they create memories they'll likely carry with them for a lifetime.
"It's a success when each one of those kids walk in with a big smile and when they walk out it's like they don't want to leave," Rich Lambie said.
Smiles that show why Your Character Matters.