‘Tis the Season

After almost two years, Best Buddies reunited for a holiday party that filled NASH’s second floor with merriment last Wednesday after school.

Sally Cho, Co-Editor-in-Chief

When all the students and staff had gone home for the night last Wednesday, sounds of laughter and joy could still be heard echoing throughout the halls of NASH. It was the bright sound of friends reuniting for the first time in almost two years for the Best Buddies holiday party, bringing together its dozens of members for an evening of fun and celebration.

“This is the first time we got to resume our monthly events [since the pandemic began],” Ms. Beck, NASH special education teacher and sponsor of Best Buddies, said. “Every month, we provide an opportunity for members to get together, and this month was the holiday party.”

The Best Buddies club has been running at NASH for many years now, hosting various events for its many members, providing real-world opportunities for them, and making a difference in countless students’ lives. 

“Best Buddies is an international organization that pairs students with intellectual and developmental disabilities with a typical peer in hopes of building life-long friendships,” Beck said. “[The holiday party] is our annual event that we’ve been doing since we started Best Buddies ten years ago. It’s a chance for everyone to get together.”

Best Buddies is built on four mission pillars of One-to-One Friendships, Integrated Employment, Leadership Development, and Inclusive Living, with the ultimate goal of ending the social, physical and economic isolation that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities face.

The party provided many different holiday-themed activities for students and staff involved in the organization to partake in, with the aim of supporting all the students’ individual needs and interests.

“We have it in multiple rooms so we can support all of our students in every way they need,” Beck said. “So, one room will be a quieter room, more like a sensory room, where students can color or build gingerbread houses.”

We had 40 to 50 people, and we haven’t had the chance to do that since February of 2020.”

— Ms. Beck, Best Buddies sponsor

Some activities at the party also provided an opportunity for students to give back to the local community.

“The students also did a Starbucks kindness project, so they were decorating cup holders to take back to Starbucks,” Beck said.

The numerous activities truly guaranteed that there was something for everyone at the party. 

“We also had a green screen up for photo ops, a movie playing, a hot chocolate station and we made our club shirts last night as well,” Beck said.  

The party was a success filled with laughter and smiles, with everyone finding their favorite activity of choosing.

“I enjoyed the coloring,” senior Grace Deeter said.

However, even amongst all the fun activities present at the party, the general consensus seems to be that the most enjoyable part of the evening was being reunited with friends after so long, as the friendships formed through the organization are the core of Best Buddies.

“We got to see our friends, so it was great,” super senior Syler Corona said with a smile.

Beck echoed these sentiments, happily reflecting on the first opportunity in 21 months to hold a big gathering for the club.

“It was such a large event,” she said. “We had 40 to 50 people, and we haven’t had the chance to do that since February of 2020, so that was nice.”