Homecoming is an exciting time of year for many high school students. It’s a week of celebration, group activities, and pep rallies all leading up to the coveted football game and dance. Often, though, the students participating in these festivities are part of the mainstream, while many others end up excluded.

Still, this year, homecoming managed to be very special for our students in the ESE Department of Cypress Bay. They actively participated as a group in the weekly “dress-up” challenges, attended the football game, and those who wanted to went to the dance. Teens and young adults on the Autism Spectrum are often challenged with social situations and tend to be excluded from these very important and enjoyable activities. It is often difficult for them to feel a part of it all.  These activities are key to appropriate social development at their age and promote more general inclusion at the high school level. Many of the week’s activities were discussed and the students were encouraged to dress up and play a part in the festivities.

The week started off with video game super-heroes, and the class got very creative. Jeffrey and Corey came dressed as “Mario and Luigi” from Super Mario Brothers, Kate and Allison came as the Sonic the Hedgehog Dynamic Duo, and Eric and Sara came as The Legend of Zelda Duo. The entire class had a great time on Ho-Down Day. Most guys wore amazing hats and were coined “The Caballeros,” and our country gals had equally fun wear. Friday was spirit day, which at CBHS means a large field pep rally and color wars. Each class wore colored shirts and competed for the most spirit award. Seniors wore black (“blackout”), which continued at the Homecoming Game against Coral Springs High School where the Lightning won 48-34. Despite some rain, the students had a great time. Saturday night, a couple of our students also participated in the Homecoming Dance, which was held at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. Homecoming ended up being an enjoyable success for them all.