Dancing for all


Morgan White

Students get groovy at the dance.

Morgan White, Writer

On Feb. 14., the first all-inclusive school dance took place at McKinley Elementary.
OHS seniors Emma Loveless and Camryn Bartz had the idea to create a dance that special needs students could enjoy. This dance was open to every special needs student from Medford and Owatonna from sixth to twelfth grade and volunteers. School dances are generally loud with bright flashing lights, but for kids with sensory issues going to dance like that is challenging. The factors that made this dance inclusive was the time it took place, the music was playing at a lower volume and there were not as many flashing lights.

The highlight of the all-inclusive dance was getting to dance with everyone and the snacks.”

— Sydney Hunst

Invitation sheets were made about a month in advance and were sent out to every special needs student from 6th to 12th grade from both Owatonna and Medford High schools. Students had the opportunity to dance with their peers, make new friends and snacks. OHS sophomore Kerryn Keller said, “I like this dance because it gives us special needs kids a place to go.” OHS junior Sydney Hunst who volunteered at this event said, “The highlight of the all-inclusive dance was getting to dance with everyone and the snacks.”

Lindsay Thompson and Owatonna Young Life hosted this project. She said, “A couple of the OHS seniors came to me and asked for Young Life to help out. We knew it was the right thing to do and we wanted to be able to offer a place for everybody.” Many members of OHS Student Council and NHS also attended this dance to help out with serving snacks and dancing with the students.

This was the first time a dance of this kind had been hosted, and it was a great success. Next time, volunteers are hoping for more students to attend. Overall, students and volunteers had a great time at the dance. There is no set date for the next all-inclusive dance, but the hope is some time next school year.