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Sammy’s Prom

Posted: 6/1/2016

My son Samuel was born with Lobar Holoprosencephaly, Diabetes Insipidus, Seizure Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Panhypopituitarism, and Adrenal Insufficiency. He is graduating on June 4th from Penn Cambria High School in Cresson, Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania special needs students can attend school until they are 21 years old. He has been in this school district for 16 years.

One of my biggest fears when he started school was the possibility that he could be made fun of or bullied. I didn’t want him to be picked on or bullied by other students because he was different. After all, it was not his fault he was born with so many medical problems.

Sammy’s School Experience
In the past 16 years at this school district we have never had issues with him being bullied or picked on. He has been treated like a ROCKSTAR by administration, teachers and students. He has been treated with respect, love, and kindness. He has been at the high school in the learning support class for the past six years. He has an aide that has gone to school with him every day for the past five years. Her name is Carol and she takes care of him like he was her son. He has been in the same homeroom for the past 6 years at the request of his teacher. He has had the same wonderful speech therapist, for the past 12 years. These teachers are exceptional. They have always been encouraging, caring and supportive toward my son. He loves them too!! He lights up when they are around.

Sammy’s Classmates
The students in my son’s class are the best!!! They have been with Sammy for many years. I have seen together and they are true friends. I have seen many “fist bumps” and “high-fives” when I am at the school and walk down the hall with Sammy. The students in his class have been able to look beyond his disabilities and get to know who he is as a person. After talking with some of them I think they have found that even though he is unable to talk, he is quite funny and charming. When I see them interact I know they see him as a true friend and it warms my heart. In my eyes Sammy’s teachers and friends couldn’t get any more supportive and kind.

The “Promposal”
In March a wonderful group of young ladies in his senior class took kindness to a new level when Sammy brought a letter home from with an invite to the prom.

Excerpts from the letter include:

  • Every senior deserves to be at prom for this very special occasion.
  • The class of 2016 is a “family” of which Sammy is a big part.
  • He [Sammy] can brighten up your worst of days with his big smile
  • No one could decide who would be lucky enough to go with you [Sammy] to prom, so will you go with all of us? We would be so honored.

His older brother and I were crying as we read the letter. Sammy didn’t have just one girl ask him to the prom, he had 37 GIRLS invite him to the prom!!! A few weeks later all the girls gathered in the gym to ask Sammy to the prom. When Sammy walked into the gym they were all lined up holding signs that said, “Will you go to prom with us?” Sammy smiled and gave them a thumbs up.

Sammy’s father and I had to attend the prom with him due to all of his medical problems. We met with the senior class before the prom for pictures. He had many beautiful girls asking if they could have a picture with him. One memory of the day that really sticks in my head happened when they were taking a group picture. Sammy has been having issues with extreme weakness in his legs. During the group picture he just sat down on the step because he couldn’t stand any longer. One of the guys came down and gave Sammy his hand and helped him get up. He led Sammy to the middle of the group and had him sit on the step right up front. Then he and another guy crouched down with him. I believe they did that so that he wouldn’t feel out of place. There were many adults there but nobody told him to help Sammy. He knew why Sammy sat down and just came forward to help him.

We arrived at the prom just in time for the promenade. They announced each couple as they walked up on stage. After all the couples were announced, they announced Sammy and his dates. They all escorted Sammy to the stage as the entire room cheered. Sammy usually does NOT like to be the center of attention. Tonight was different. He stood proudly beside is dates with a big smile on his face. After pictures Karingtin came and got Sammy and took him to their table. Karingtin is the wonderful person who organized the whole thing. Sammy never leaves our side and my husband was a bit shocked. I knew he was in good hands and proudly let him go to have a great time. As my husband and I stood on the sidelines with the other chaperones I was in awe to see how all the students interacted with Sammy. It was heartwarming to see how the girls interacted with and watched out for him. They made sure he was having fun. He loves music and he loves to dance. He had a steady stream of students coming to find him to dance. He did not once sit on the sidelines and watch except when I made him because he looked a little tired. One of Sammy’s medical problems requires that he drink a great deal of fluids every day and his friends knew that. I watched as they took the time to get him drinks and sit down with him to make sure he was drinking enough. Sammy is non-verbal but understands everything said. He knows many signs but prefers to use his own made up signs. His friends knew what his signs meant and knew exactly how to communicate with him. There was no doubt in my mind that these students were Sammy’s true friends.

Crowned Prom King!
Sammy had made the prom court and at 9:30 they were going to announce the prom king and queen. I wasn’t sure if he was going to make it till 9:30 because he seemed to be getting weak. The teacher in charge of the ceremony noticed that he wasn’t looking well so she decided to move it up to 9:00. When they called Sammy’s name two of his dates escorted him to the middle of the dance floor. Everyone cheered loudly as Sammy walked onto the floor. They announced the prom queen first and then announced that the prom king was Sammy Lamar. The entire room began to chant, “Sammy, Sammy” as he went up to get his crown. The entire senior class had voted for Sammy to be their prom king. As they chanted his name he proudly walked onto the floor to receive his crown with a big smile on his face. At that moment I was humbled by the kindness shown by every person in that room and the proudest mom in the world. I am very proud of my son. He has been through a great deal of unpleasant things in his short life, but through it all continues to smile. I have always noticed that people seem to be attracted to Sammy. I call him my “people magnet”. I think it is because of his uncanny ability to make people smile. Sammy danced with his queen like a pro, and had what seemed like several hundred more pictures taken. What amazed me was that he was still wearing his crown. The fact that he still had that crown on his head was nothing short of a miracle to me. In his lifetime I have never seen him wear a hat for more than maybe one minute. He wore that crown in the car the entire way home. He never took it off until we got into the house. He was certainly proud of that crown he had received.

A Mother’s Wish
I wish that before any student bullies another student they would stop and just think about what being kind would mean to that person. One act of kindness toward a person can be life changing.

Future Success For All
Graduation will be very bittersweet. I am happy and proud to see my son graduate from high school, but at the same time sad to see him leave a place with such wonderful people. Sammy and I will never forget these girls and their wonderful act of kindness. I am sure that these lovely young ladies will go far and succeed in everything they wish to do in life.

By: Diana, Proud mom of Sammy