Southeast High School Student Government, special needs students share holiday spirit
MANATEE -- Students in the Southeast High School special needs programs and in student government together created holiday door hangers, decorated ornaments, made reindeer food, shared lunch and watched "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," as part of an annual celebration Thursday put on by student government.
"Southeast has one of the largest and most recognized special needs programs in the county," said Jordana Terrell, a 17-year-old senior and Student Government Association president. "We really like to celebrate that and celebrate the students that are part of the program."
SGA students spent about two months planning the annual celebration, beginning right after Homecoming. They decided on crafts, collected materials, worked to have lunch catered and put finishing touches on decorations in the auditorium just before the celebration began.
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"This really opens your eyes," said Marquia Walker, a 16-year-old junior and SGA vice president. "It's a different perspective on the holidays."
SGA students led crafts activities, helping fellow students paint, glue and decorate. Band members provided live music in the auditorium and students used their phones to play Christmas music at craft decoration stations. Door hangers were painted by applying red and green paint to the students' hands and transferring it.
An ice cream cone was secured open-end down to a paper plate with green frosting, which was used to cover the rest of the cone and create their edible Christmas trees with candy ornaments. Reindeer food combined cereal, pretzels and other typical trail mix ingredients into a festive red or green bag to leave on Christmas Eve for Santa and his reindeer.
Each special needs student was provided with a small gift after lunch. The gifts aren't extravagant, Terrell said, but include $10 food gift cards and markers.
"They love it," she said. "This event is a lot of fun."
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter@MeghinDelaney.