Sealed with a K.I.S.S.
A new tradition begins at Blue Point Elementary
By Jennifer Young
On Friday, Feb. 3, the Blue Point Elementary PTA hosted the first-ever K.I.S.S. (Kids Invite Someone Special) Dance. While separate events in the past were mother or father-focused, this time students were encouraged to ask any special someone to accompany them to the Valentine-themed celebration. Parents, grandparents, neighbors, and other loved ones were happy to attend, supporting the District’s goal to promote equal access and inclusion for all students and the various people they hold dear. Guests were treated to a celebrity-like red carpet arrival, complete with velvet ropes and balloon arches. Once inside, the PTA also provided two photo opportunities, lighting effects, and a “phenomenal” DJ to round out the exciting experience, all donated by Jeremy Radino of Super Booths.
For many of the elementary students, this was their very first time at a school dance. Among the first-timers were also many party-goers who may often have difficulty transitioning into a large social event or noisy surroundings. To encourage participation from the entire school community, the PTA was sensitive to students’ needs and worked to create strategies and spaces that made all students feel welcomed and safe. There was an early arrival option for students who required supportive time to acclimate and staggered arrival so that the influx of people was not overwhelming. While the volunteers worked to transform the gym into a space even Cupid would love, there were still bright lights, loud noises, and dozens of dancers in the center of it all.
”BPE is home to many of the district’s students who require special support, and it is always extremely important as a school community that all members of our BPE family feel welcome, comfortable, and able to have a great time,” said Nora Garvey, one of the PTA organizers. In that spirit, a “mini Zen-Den” was created in an adjacent conference room with non-fluorescent lighting and ambient music. This smaller space provided a break for anyone who needed a few moments away from the festivities, where students could color, craft, or just regroup. BBP High School students volunteered to keep the eventgoers company for as long as they needed to stay.
“These are relatively small changes that can be made to open this experience to so many more people,” said event chair Antonia Sautter. “It creates a space that is welcoming and really anyone can benefit from that.” The event was so successful, there is talk of expanding these features to all PTA events district-wide in the future. “We are so happy to be back at full strength, enjoying each other and our school once again,” said Garvey with pride.“The K.I.S.S. Dance was a night to celebrate love in all its forms: family, friendship, neighborhood, and community.” Thanks to the love and dedication of dozens of community members, a new February tradition at Blue Point Elementary has begun.
Photos by Kate Berube