Special needs students at JL Mann finding their rhythm

JL Mann "S.P.E.C.I.A.L.S." team (Source: GoFundMe)

A unique group of students at JL Mann High School is overcoming challenges while choreographing a major accomplishment.

The S.P.E.C.I.A.L.S., which stands for "Students Pursue Exceptional Challenges In All Life Skills," are connecting with one another and their peer tutors through music and dance. The students range from 14 to 21 years old but, according to the school, are on a first-grade level academically due to intellectual or physical disabilities.

Led by instructors from Carolina Dance Collaborative, they’re exploring their talents as they practice for a public performance next week. Alyson Amato with Carolina Dance Collaborative says it’s been rewarding to see the students’ confidence grow.

“I tell people it’s one of my favorite things because it connects the body to the brain through music and movement,” says Amato.

The students will perform for a crowd in the JL Mann auditorium next Friday, December 8th at 6:00pm which they say is a dream come true. Their other dream is a trip to Disney World in the spring. Organizers say, because of their limitations, most of them would never make the trip otherwise so several fundraisers are underway.

Contact JL Mann if you’d like to contribute. The group also has a Go Fund Me page set up.

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