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Garden City Life - Schools

Student Gives Back At 70s Prom

Samantha Derby is a 16-year-old student at Garden City High School. Her aunt is principal of the Children’s Learning Center (CLC), a school for 250 children with developmental disabilities that is affiliated with the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County, Inc. The junior heard the CLC was hosting a ’70s-themed prom for about 80 of its teenaged students and wanted to get involved. Along with other volunteers, she helped transform the school gym in to the “Disco Fever” ballroom. The gift that students received in their goody bags was a wonderful compilation of songs that Derby put together.

After hearing it was a 1970’s themed prom, the altruistic teen researched the most popular songs of each decade from the ‘70s through now. She decided include some current hits, not just music from the 70’s, which most students would not know. She took the time to screen the songs to make sure the lyrics and subject matter were appropriate and the songs were upbeat, and then made arrangements to have a copy for each student attending the prom. The Garden City resident downloaded the songs from iTunes and copied them onto discs she purchased. At this point, labels were typed up using a template that indicated the song, artist and year of release. Then labels were printed and decorated with colorful peace signs and placed in colorful cases. The generous junior then purchased tie-dyed ‘70s-themed loot bags that the discs were placed into. She then brought them to the prom the day before to package with the tie-dye T-shirts all prom guests were receiving.

Derby enjoyed the whole experience and commented, “The CLC Prom was one of the most beautiful things I have ever been a part of.  The best part was watching the children in amazement and having the time of their lives dancing with each other. All of our work paid off and I’m so thankful I got this opportunity.” The students at the prom were thrilled to have their own CD of music to bring home according to Community Outreach Manager, Pat Quinn who said, “It was so thoughtful and kind of Sam to come up with this fun idea and then do all that was needed to make it happen!  We all appreciate her creativity and her generosity.”

This Garden City student certainly keeps busy as a member of the varsity volleyball team and student council. In addition to her volunteer work for the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County, she also volunteers at the Mary Brennan INN, and Nassau County Youth Court. To learn more about ucpn and CLC go to www.ucpn.org