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Northview Students Help KVO Dancers Prepare for Prom

Never mind that Willy is hearing impaired. He spun and twirled Northview High School junior Arianna Dixon stylishly to the tune of “In the Mood.”Northview senior Kendra Campbell twists the night away with Troy, a student from the Kent Vocational Options program.

They were two of the more flamboyant dancers in a warm-up to the annual prom for Kent County young adults with developmental disabilities. Northview students volunteered to help about 50 students with special needs practice their dance moves before the big dance at Creston High School.

Students came to practice at Northview from Kent Vocational Options, a program that helps 18- to 26-year-olds learn job and lifeskills. It’s run jointly by Kent ISD and Grand Rapids Public Schools. Northview teams each year to help KVO students prepare for the dance.

Schooled by professional dance teacher Patty Silvestro, about 100 students paired off to do the swing, Texas Northview senior Allison Gilbert, left, steps out with Michael, a student with the Kent Vocational Options program.two-step, disco and twist. They dipped, strolled and got down. One KVO student even did a break dance, whirling around on the floor to the whoops of his fellow dancers.

Some Northview students, like senior Taylor White, go to the prom as well. “I just love the atmosphere and the kids,” Taylor said. “They’re so much fun.”

For the KVO students, it’s “a chance to interact with people without a disability,” said teacher Tom Scott. “These Northview kids do a wonderful job.”

“They want to dance like everybody else,” said Silvestro, the dance teacher. “That’s part of our culture.”

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers series and issues stories for all districts. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio

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