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At this prom, everyone is a king and queen

Posted at 6:59 PM, May 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-11 19:00:16-04

Be on the look out for fancy dresses and tuxedos this weekend. Prom season is in full swing!

But students at one local school got a jump on the party. Connections Education Center of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach serves children with the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

On Friday, the organization held their first ever prom since opening it's doors to high school age students this school year.

At this prom, everyone is a king and a queen.

"I think I feel like I'm the king of prom!" said student Reese Carpenter.

The school rolled out the red carpet for this celebration at the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach, which sponsored their building for the event. With the theme “Hollywood Paparazzi”, crowns and tiaras were handed out to all 18 students as they walked through the doors.

"This is much more fun than my prom, for sure," said teacher Pam Ludwick. "They're just having so much fun and it's just been such a wonderful day."

For many students like Michael Kaufman, it's their very first prom.

"I don't know that i ever thought we'd see this day," said Carol Kaufman, Michael's mother. "It's his sister's first prom if you can believe it and she couldn't wait to take him!"

Carol said she is so proud of Michael to experience such a memorable moment.

"It's amazing. It makes me so happy to see him that happy," she said. "They can see that they can have fun in life because I think so much of their life is school and therapy and really working with them."

Festivities started at the school’s campus, where volunteers helped do hair and make up for girls and provided haircuts and shaves for boys free of charge. Corsages and boutonnieres were also provided.

The group then rode in style on a full sized party bus.

"They've overcome a lot of obstacles and this is just a day to have fun and celebrate," said Ludwick. 

The entire experience was free of charge for these students and their families.

"This program and this school are so passionate about making sure these young adults transition into the world," said Kaufman.

Graduation takes place next Friday. Connections High School & Vocational Center will celebrate the graduation of its first student, 21-year old Edward Ruggiero of Royal Palm Beach.

Connections is a non-profit school and tuition is also free for these families, as well.

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