Henderson High School Hosts Best Buddies Fun with Friends Day

Henderson High School Hosts Best Buddies Fun with Friends Day

8th Annual Best Buddies Fun with Friends Day

Bus after bus filled to the brim with students filed into Henderson High School May 2nd to participate in the 8th annual Best Buddies Fun with Friends Day. As students left their buses, they were enthusiastically greeted by Henderson Best Buddies chapter members and volunteers. 

Henderson Learning Support teacher Rob McMahon came up with the idea of Best Buddies Fun with Friends Day eight years ago when he taught at East High School. This was Henderson’s second year hosting the event.

“It’s all about making new friends and seeing the abilities of all our kids,” said McMahon. “It’s about raising awareness.”Hayden and Justen participate in the 8th annual Best Buddies Fun with Friends Day

Fifteen schools from Chester and Montgomery counties participated in the event, doubling the number of schools involved last year.  The beautiful spring day served as the perfect backdrop for outdoor fun, which included Frisbee ring toss, soccer, Simon Says, an obstacle course, face painting, and much more.

McMahon prides himself on the diversity of the Best Buddies Henderson chapter.

“I have kids that are involved in band, academic teams, athletics, or nothing specific, but they all participate in Best Buddies. The other groups that they participate in are left at the door when they come to Best Buddies. These kids are awesome.”

The day was orchestrated and run by Best Buddies president Justen Lucas and board members Sarah Guber, Kelly Johnson, Grace Campbell and Caroline Camp.

 “It means a lot to me,” said Lucas who was named Best Buddies President of the Year for Chester County. “I couldn’t have done it without the support of my board, the student advisors, the Best Buddies kids, Mr. McMahon, and all of the students that support this organization.”

The afternoon of fun concluded with a group water balloon toss, which ended with a lot of laughter and wet clothing that no one seemed to mind. Students then lined up for an emotional farewell as they received their certificates of participation. Best Buddies from each school ran through a tunnel of Henderson students who high fived each of them and called out their names, cheering them on.

Best Buddies is an organization dedicated to providing friendship and support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. There are six chapters in the West Chester Area School District – East High School, Henderson High School, Rustin High School, Fugett Middle School, Peirce Middle School, and Stetson Middle School.

Henderson High School hosts the 8th annual Best Buddies Fun with Friends Day In addition to Best Buddies Fun with Friends Day, the organization holds other events throughout the year including The Buddy Ball and Best Buddies Wing Bowl. The group also donates cookies and makes cards for the local police department as a thank you for their service.  Best Buddies and their peers also have the opportunity to participate in a physical education class together twice a week.

Since bringing Best Buddies to Henderson, McMahon has seen a shift regarding acceptance of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“Without question,” said McMahon. “One of the kids, a 10-grader, when he came here as a freshman, his mom was very worried about him not knowing anybody. His communication skills were low, but now he gives everyone high-fives. He even participated in our Wing Bowl. He’s like the mayor of Henderson. It’s fantastic!”

Three Buddies and all of the Peer Buddies are graduating this year and starting another adventure, but they will always have their high school memories to take with them on their journey.

-Written by Henderson High School senior and WCASD communications intern Cassie Wright