New Friendships

SSD students and GenEd students come together as one

Samantha Weir, Staff Reporter

The best buddies program is an international organization that began in Missouri in 2015 and has been spreading worldwide ever since. Starting last spring, when Ms. Laramie, a Special School District helper, heard about it from a colleague at another building, teachers, including Mr. Bender, and students, like senior Sarah Kuper, have been working to put things in place.

“It started because students with special needs often do not have the same opportunities to socialize on the weekends or participate in school and sporting events that many high school students do,” said Laramie.

The program provides students with a way to create and grow friendships that will continue out of school and after graduation. In addition gives students an opportunity to learn more about people with developmental disabilities. Kuper says she saw the disconnect between students in general education and students in special education at school and she wanted to help bridge the gap.

“I think the best part of the program is how it encourages friendships to form naturally like any other one would. It is important for both sides to feel comfortable,” said Kuper.

Being involved in this program made Kuper realize how important acceptance is and it encourages her to engage in a conversation rather than just saying “hi” to the SSD students in the hallway. They are people just like everyone else, and they deserve the same respect.

This program affects people in different ways. Kuper now wants to get more involved in these types of organization when she is older, so she can continue to spread the message of respect and acceptance.

“I believe that Best Buddies is helping us set up friendships that are going to last a lifetime. I couldn’t be more happy to be in the program!” said junior Morgan Kiel.