BROOKLYN — Prom night is always a magical evening for students, filled with dinner, dates, and yes, lots of dancing!
But this Brooklyn high school was treated to an extra special surprise when PIX11's Dan Mannarino joined the party.
We first met the talented students and staff of P721K, the Brooklyn Occupational Training Center in Gravesend, when they were a finalist in PIX11's Fuel My School contest earlier in May. The school ended up winning the $11,000 grand prize for new technology, capturing the hearts of our viewers and anchors alike.
The mission of this high school is to enable young adults with developmental disabilities to realize their talents in order to live independently. Students are encouraged to say "I can" rather than "I can't."
This year's senior class has more than 100 students graduating, many of whom have jobs already lined up. In fact, the school is less focused on traditional homework and more about centered on applying real-life skills that can shape its students futures as they transition into adulthood.
There's no shortage of vocational programs right inside the building, including a 99-cents store, bakery, art gallery — and that's just on two floors.
"To each and every student, congratulations! We'll always be your school. We will always have you in our hearts and in our minds," Principal Barbara Tremblay said, honoring the graduating seniors on prom night.
Many of the students' parents were also in attendance at the prom, beaming with pride as their kids enjoyed the right of passage ahead of graduation.
"It’s like a dream — it’s everything I could hope for for him. He’s come full circle," said the mother of a graduating senior. "When we started on this journey 19 years ago, there wasn't a lot known about autism. But he's come so far. And I’m so proud of him.”