This year’s Halloween party for the students in Cypress Bay High School’s Personal Skills class took place on Saturday October 28, 2017. Once again, Tarantella Ristorante and Pizzeria in Weston Town Center welcomed every one of the guests and reserved the private room in the back of its restaurant just for our party. At this juncture in the year, it is exciting to see how well the students are beginning to progress in all areas of the program from budgeting all the way to social skill development.

The students, teachers, and volunteers all came dressed in costumes and ready to have a good time. There were vampires, doctors, witches, hippies, and even Waldo! Everyone’s costume was unique and added to the spirit of the 3rd annual Halloween dinner party.

The room was buzzing with conversations as everyone socialized with each other. Every person had the opportunity to order from Tarantella’s menu and use his own ATM card (funds from the BRIDGES grant) to pay for dinner at the end of the party. Prior to the checks coming to the table, the students were reminded how to calculate the tip (multiply by .20). A few students needed some assistance with their bill, but the teachers and volunteers were right there to offer explicit instruction to explain how to do this task correctly.

By participating in activities such as this one at Tarantella Ristorante and Pizzeria, the students in the Personal Skills class are not just attending the annual Halloween party, they are also gaining more practice interacting with restaurant personnel, problem solving, understanding tipping, and improving social skills. While most high school students look forward to attending group functions, the students in this class are typically apprehensive about the whole experience. With more opportunities to practice these skills most take for granted, the students in the Personal Skills class will develop more confidence and hopefully generalize their learning outside of the program.