A Night to Remember
A night to remember
By SARAH PLOMBON
For the Catholic Herald (used with permission)
As the final weeks of school approached at Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, there was increasing anticipation of one of the most unforgettable nights in high school: prom. It was an especially unforgettable night for seniors Evan Patchett and Tasha Adkins-Blanch, who were the first Options students ever to be named prom king and queen. The Options Program integrates students with intellectual disabilities into regular classrooms.
Sara Adkins-Blanch, mother of Tasha, said, “This was an honor and a privilege for her and for any past or future Options students. It speaks a lot to the student population at PVI that they were so open and welcoming to the idea of having a student with disabilities receive such an honor.”
The senior class had been quietly planning this for the week or two up to prom, and it became a reality last month. Patchett and Adkins-Blanch won by an overwhelming majority of votes, which shows how deserving they truly are to receive the award. The week leading up to prom, Patchett kept telling his mom that he really wanted to win prom king. His mom, Donna Patchett, kept telling him not to get his hopes up, and that he would have a great time at prom no matter what happened.
On the night of prom, all the Options parents went out to dinner. At dinner, Donna received a text from her son saying, “I WON PROM KING!” All the parents were extremely excited, and even more so when Adkins-Blanch walked out of the Willard wearing her crown, too. “I honestly don’t believe it could have meant more to anyone else than it did to him,” Donna said.
Paul VI gives the Options students a unique opportunity to excel in a family environment and loving community. Donna said her son “has had the same social opportunities as all of his nondisabled peers and has been welcome at every turn. He could not have had this experience — not just prom king, but his entire high school experience — at a public high school.”
“Tasha has been treated like any another student at PVI,” added Sara. “And PVI has been a blessing for Tasha and for us as well — it is a wonderful family that we can lean on and turn to whenever there is a need. As Tasha would say, ‘The class of 2011 rocks!’”
Plombon is a junior at Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax.
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