Northern Indiana high school holds very ‘special’ prom for area students

There was a whole lot of dancing going on at a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
There was a whole lot of dancing going on at a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
Christian Radican, 22, poses after being dropped off by a limousine prior to a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
Students take part in an "After-Prom" activity following a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
There was a whole lot of dancing going on at a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
There was a whole lot of dancing going on at a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
There was a whole lot of dancing going on at a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
The theme of "Nothing's gonna stop us now" was on a poster outside the gym where a "Special Needs Prom" was held Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
There was a whole lot of dancing going on at a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
Students take part in an "After-Prom" activity following a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
A young girl is escorted into a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
A "Special Needs Prom" was held Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
An attendee is dropped off by limousine for a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
There were three limousines that delivered attendees for a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
A young girl is escorted into a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
LaVille Junior Senior High School special education teacher Tammie Radican speaks with the driver of a limousine as she prepares to help a student out for the "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. Radican founded the annual event, which was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
A young girl is escorted into a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
A photo booth provided fun at a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
A young girl is escorted into a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
Attendees received a gift bag at a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
A young man is escorted into a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
There was a whole lot of dancing going on at a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
Attendees got their photo taken prior to a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
Attendees received a gift bag at a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
The LaVille High School students, under the guidance of special education teacher Tammie Radican, decorated the tables beautifully for a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
A disc jockey plays music for the students at a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
Christian Radican, 22, right, and his escort are announced as they enter a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
A young man is escorted into a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
Attendees received a bracelet in a Tiffany's box with this year's theme (Nothing's gonna stop us now) at a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
Over 60 LaVille High School students assisted with a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
Attendees got their photo taken prior to a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
Attendees received a boutonniere prior to a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
Attendees could get their hair and make-up done prior to a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
Attendees got their photo taken prior to a "Special Needs Prom" Friday at LaVille Junior-Senior High School. The annual event was conducted for the fourth year and students from 11 area school corporations attended. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
LaVille Junior-Senior High School was the site for a fourth annual "Special Needs Prom" for students from 11 area school corporations Friday in Lakeville. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)

LAKEVILLE – Four years ago, Tammie Radican had a thought pop into her exuberant mind and though it took awhile to act on, she decided that nothing was going to stop her from putting that dream into action.

Fast-forward to Friday and Radican was not holding anything back in providing a positive experience for a very special group of young people throughout northern Indiana.

The LaVille Junior-Senior High School special education teacher dreamt up the notion of hosting a “Special Needs Prom” for students in 11 different school corporations throughout the area and the annual event has taken on a life of its own after four years. This year’s theme “Nothing’s gonna’ stop us now,” is an inspirational mantra that Radican tries to refresh each year.

“I have always felt that you can’t put limitations on people,” Radican told News-Sentinel.com. “How am I going to know if they can do something if they don’t try and they should have every opportunity as everyone else.”

She came up with the concept while preparing her own son, Christian, now 22, for the Senior Prom at Plymouth High School, where he was an autistic student, as was his younger brother, Ian, now 21.

Radican felt that there was a need for an event for kids such as hers that wasn’t getting provided. She thought about the idea for an entire year before organizing and conducting the first dance in 2015.

“I thought ‘There is a whole group of kids, my students that will never go to a prom,'” Radican said. “That is because it is at night. How are they going to get there? Who is going to chaperone? And I thought ‘Why can’t we bring one here?'”

So she has done just that and over 100 students – some with special needs but many not – had the time of their life Friday.

The dance was conducted during the school day with the assistance of over 60 LaVille High School students, some from National Honor Society and others through a Peer Tutoring class. In fact, the opportunity to work with this “special” group has become so popular, Radican has more requests to be involved than she really needs.

“What I have every year is a group of kids that have either seen (the prom) or been a part of it,” Radican explained, “and they want to work in this (Peer Tutoring) classroom the next year. I don’t have to seek anybody out. Even if I have too many, I don’t turn them down because I think that it is life-changing.”

Working with the students is definitely impactful and attending the prom is an absolutely memorable event.

The students were delivered at the side door near the gymnasium by three limousines and each attendee received a boutonniere, a bracelet (placed in a Tiffany box) with this year’s theme, a gift bag, as well as breakfast and lunch.

The gym was decorated beautifully and a DJ provided fun music packaged with a spectacular light show.

Prior to the dancing, attendees had the opportunity to get their hair and make-up done and this year Radican added the touch of a stage along with a huge projection screen, which featured a slideshow from last year’s event.

“I probably push the envelope on a lot of things,” Radican said. “Well, let’s try it. Why not try it? You can’t always do that but there are a lot of things that if we think outside the box we can make happen.”

The students were able to dance, mingle at ornately decorated tables, get their photos taken in a fun photo booth and Radican even organized an “after-prom” in the library with video games, bowling, and other activities.

“You end up learning that with a disability or not,” Radican said, “we all want the same things. We want to have fun. We want to have friends. We want to be accepted. We want to be included.

“At the end of the day, whether we can verbalize it or not, we can make friends with a non-verbal kid by the way that they gesture or they smile. We communicate in multiple ways but you don’t know that until you start to interact.”

Interacting or dancing, either one will work just fine.

For more on interesting stories throughout Indiana, follow Tom Davis on Twitter at Tom101010, Facebook at Thomas Davis and Instagram at tomdavis101010.