Arts & Entertainment

Fairfield's Gramon Family of Schools Students Enjoy Annual Red Carpet Affair

f8216a6a4efae6a428e3_Screen_Shot_2017-05-22_at_2.50.37_PM.jpg
Markees, Josh, Derrique, Alyssa, Michael, Erasmo and staff member Janea stand in the balloon arch leading to the red carpet at the Gramon Family of Schools prom. Credits: Gail Bottone
05db7b15b5ea53206bf1_Screen_Shot_2017-05-22_at_2.53.23_PM.jpg
Brandon, Yenelin, Sean and Steven enjoy the fun at their Gramon Family of Schools prom. Credits: Gail Bottone
8145464910ac88cfca5e_Screen_Shot_2017-05-22_at_2.53.04_PM.jpg
Mike and Steven are getting into that disco beat at their prom at the Gramon Family of Schools Credits: Gail Bottone
5879066011b44377d8b9_Screen_Shot_2017-05-22_at_2.52.33_PM.jpg
Nolan F. and Yenelin G. take a walk down Hollywood Boulevard at the Gramon Family of School's prom. Credits: Gail Bottone
f8216a6a4efae6a428e3_Screen_Shot_2017-05-22_at_2.50.37_PM.jpg

FAIRFIELD, NJ — Eighty-five Gramon Family of Schools students walked down the red carpet to their “Red Carpet Affair” prom on Friday. 

“Students were so excited all day,” said Michael Farrelly, principal of New Beginnings, one of the three Gramon Family of Schools, which serve children, adolescents and young adults with special needs.

The New Beginnings’ school and gymnasium were transformed into a red carpet affair with decorations, photo booth and music provided by DJ Jill.

Sign Up for E-News

Students and teachers danced to the Electric Slide, the Cha Cha Slide, Cotton Eyed Joe and a mixture of fast and slow songs while wearing glow-in-the-dark necklaces. The hallway was lined with stars that displayed the names of each student, and the entranceway to the red carpet was decorated with a red balloon arch.

Students enjoyed a sit-down dinner that was prepared by classmates and served by faculty. Nolan, a student, said that the food was good, and fellow student Jonathan especially liked the chicken fingers with the honey mustard dipping sauce.

A popular prom feature was the photo booth with its props of frames, fake money and mustaches. Another student, Andrew, said he was excited to get together with his friends to enjoy the photo booth and the music.

Students remained after school on Friday to get ready for the prom. Faculty helped them get dressed and did hair and makeup for the girls. Boutonnieres and corsages were provided by the school.

The students were also taken on a ride around town in a party bus and then brought back to the school. They then walked from the party bus, down the red carpet to the prom.

Parents, who said they were just as excited about the prom as the students, were given dinner in the Gramon School, where they stayed to watch a montage of photos taken at New Beginnings.

“This is a great opportunity for our children to have a chance to experience the normal things in life,” said Safiyyah Muhammad, a parent of an 18-year-old student. “They have a right to have the same opportunities for recreation, fun and the experiences of making choices.”

She said she took her son shopping for his clothes and shoes and allowed him to pick them out on his own. Although his choices would not have been her first, she said her son was thrilled with his choices.

She added that he paid for everything with his own debt card. She continued to say how much her son loves the Gramon Family of Schools, expressing that “the school is like home.”

Fellow parent Henrique Hutchinson said his son has been at this school from four years old to 20 and that the Gramon Family of Schools is like his son’s second home.

Hutchinson said that the prom is very exciting, and that his son was excited for days because he knew what was going on. His father also said they went to a specialty shop for clothes because his son is so tall and thin. His sisters, Akena and Nahila, also attended to see their brother all dressed up for the event.

“I love that they did this for our children,” said parent Lisa McCroy. “It’s such a good experience.”

McCroy said her older son had his prom last year, and now her younger son had this chance to experience the same thing.

“It is nice to be included in something that is normal because it is a real challenge to have autism,” she said.

An observer said the kids had “a great experience thanks to the hard work of the staff at the Gramon Family of Schools.”

“The kids had a great time dancing,” she said. “Music for a lot of the students is a great way for them to express themselves. We have some great dancers and singers in the school. It was a great night for students and staff.”

Prom committee members include: Keira Meli, Melissa Fernandez, Jessica Barragan, Stephanie Bradford, Marcia Podvey, Dana Monto, Amanda Phelps, Janet Ellis and Heather Berger.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Essex

Essex County Freeholders Celebrate African-American History Month

February 22, 2018

NEWARK, NJ – At its 2018 African-American History Month Celebration on Wednesday at the Hall of Records in Newark, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders commemorated the heritage, culture, resilience, and spirit of the African-American community.

Brendan Gill, board president and Freeholder At-Large, first acknowledged African-American contributions, both past and present, in ...

Hackensack Resident Charged with Sexual Assualt and Child Endangerment at YMCA

February 23, 2018

HACKENSACK, NJ — Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo announced the arrest of Timothy Smith of Hackensack on six counts each of Sexual Assault by Contact and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. The arrest is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office under the direction of Chief Robert Anzilotti, and the Hackensack Police Department ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_390a4586af4b60582b01_coffee_with_a_cop_caldwell

Sat, February 24, 10:00 AM

Rock “N” Joe Coffee Bar, Caldwell

Caldwell Coffee With a Cop

Police & Fire

Carousel_image_45b9574cb5a04b8bcbfa_stephen_fuller_photo

Sun, February 25, 2:00 PM

West Caldwell Public Library, West Caldwell

Concert with Stephen Fuller Quartet

Arts & Entertainment

Free Cardiac and Concussion Screenings for Young Athletes

February 22, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Matthew J. Morahan III Health Assessment Center for Athletes (MJM) at RWJBarnabas Health will provide free cardiac and concussion baseline screenings to young athletes on Saturday, March 3, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at South Mountain Recreation Complex, Codey Arena, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ.

When preliminary testing to identify serious cardiac ...

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  

 

The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck ...