On Wednesday, February 8th, Holliston High School students of all grades and abilities came together to celebrate the annual Best Buddies Valentine’s Day Party.
Students met right after school in Mrs. Beverly Ryan’s room to enjoy card-making, snacks, and good conversation.
According to officers Maddie Cerulli and Abaigeal O’Neill, about 15-20 students attended, filling most of the tables to make crafts such as Valentine’s Day cards, friendship bracelets, and sewn hearts.
“Valentine’s Day especially is a really good time to show appreciation for your buddy and other members who commit to coming every time,” said Cerulli.
The crafts were given to a buddy, family members, and friends. A card was given to the basketball team because, “they had a clinic for the Special Olympics,” Cerulli explained.
“We even made a valentine for Mrs. Ryan,” said Freshman member Annie Gallivan.
Gallivan’s favorite moment from the party was “seeing the reactions on everyone’s faces when they gave or received valentines,” she added.
Officer Sidney Halchuk purchased crafts using funds from previous bake sales and fundraisers, Cerulli said. In addition to refreshments leftover from previous meetings, “we ask people to … bring food, so we don’t have to pay for any,” Cerulli added.
Next week, March 6th through March 10, Best Buddies will be hosting a school-wide event called “Spread the Word to End the Word,” Cerulli said. They hope it will raise awareness to stop using the word “retard” (the “R” word).
The “R” word is an outdated term that overgeneralizes and insults those with intellectual difficulties. The word is offensive, as people often use it synonymously with dumb, stupid, or slow.
“We’re doing an … awareness week where we’re trying to to get people’s attention to stop using the “R” word as an insult or just in a joking way,” said Cerulli.
The week will end with an advisory event where students will make t-shirts, watch a video, and take a pledge to stop using the “R” word, Cerulli elaborated.
Best Buddies events such as these are important to the community as a whole, as they uphold the mission statement of the club. Taken from the HHS website, the club’s goal is to “Enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships. These friendships help increase self-esteem, confidence and the abilities of people with and without intellectual disabilities.”
“Everyone comes together as a whole, [and] everyone gets to meet new people [with] other personalities,” O’Neill said.
Gallivan agreed, “Best Buddies meetings are fun. Good people get together.”