A very special prom took place Thursday morning at the Pavilion at Allandale Mansion.

The 9th Annual “BUDS Alternative Prom” is hosted by the Kingsport Rotary Club.

It’s a fun event where special need students and their peers get to skip class and have a day full of dancing and food!

Teacher Christie Culbertson said the students look forward to the event every year.

“We put it on our calendar at the beginning of the month and every day we count down to prom, it’s something they really look forward to,” she said.

The students arrive at the prom in a stretch limousine, then they are greeted by their buddies who give them a grand entrance.

“They get the full shindig. They get to have a dinner, they get to dance, they get to be with their friends and they get to experience just what every other student will experience at our DB prom on Saturday,” Culbertson said.

“Buddies Understanding Different Students”, or “BUDS”, are seniors at DB who give up one class period each day to work in the Life Skills classroom with these students.

“It’s a lot of fun to be able to be around them, and just to see them every day. It’s always like the best part of my day is to come into their class because they’re so much fun to be around they just brighten my day every day,” said student Abbie Edwards.

“I just love the kids and making them feel like they’re like everyone else,” student Aleah Sanders said.

Some students said they came for the food and the others came for the dancing.

“Seeing the joy on all of the kids’ faces it’s a pretty powerful thing,” said Kingsport Rotary member Dr. Joe Ley.

An argument could be made for who had more fun; the students, the buddies, or the spectators.

“I don’t want to say it’s more fun for me because it’s not for me, but it’s honestly more fun for me because I get to skip school and come hang out with them all day,” Edwards said.

But one thing is certain, the kids made memories that will last a lifetime.