“Perfect example of inclusion:” EC students and teachers reflect on WHS Homecoming

Published 1:24 pm Thursday, October 20, 2022

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Carlito Alston and Mya Langley were crowned Washington High School’s Homecoming King and Queen. This was a very special night for these exceptional students. 

Alston and Langley are two of a total 16 Exception Children (EC) students at the high school. They are seniors who both enjoy being part of the Brew Crew and participating in Project Unify. 

On Friday night (Oct. 14), Alston said he had “butterflies in his stomach” when he walked on the field with his mother, Sade. He said, before last weekend, it was hard for him to imagine winning Homecoming King. Langley said the experience made her feel happy and she knew her father, Montez, who walked her down the field, was proud of her. She also said she liked the sparkling crown. 

According to school faculty, Alston won 21.6% of students’ votes and Mya won 23% of students’ votes. There were 16 total candidates for Homecoming King and Queen. 

Serena Current, an EC teacher at Washington High School, said she “definitely cried” when Alston and Langley’s names were called as this year’s winners. “We’ve never even had a student make it on court.” She was very excited to hear their names called over the intercom system as nominees for Homecoming King and Queen. 

“It was a beautiful moment for the student body to vote them in and accept them. I loved it,” Current said. “It was the perfect example of inclusion…” 

McKenna Gill, another EC teacher at the high school said she was “speechless” when Alston and Langley’s names were called. “It showed me a lot more about our student body that I didn’t even realize how much they truly care about our classes.” 

Alston said winning Homecoming King has helped him like Washington High School more than before Friday night. Langley said she too likes being a student at the school. 

On Saturday night, Alston and Langley celebrated their win at the school’s Homecoming dance on campus. Gill said she danced the night away. 

After a fun-filled weekend, Alston and Langley returned to school on Monday ready to be part of the Brew Crew and on Friday, participate in activities with Project Unify. 

The Brew Crew is a coffee, and tea cart where teachers can purchase hot or iced coffees, hot teas, hot chocolate and cookies from EC students. It teaches students how to handle money and assists with developing social skills. 

Project Unify is a national program supported by Special Olympics. It brings together EC students and general education students together in an effort to cultivate an environment of inclusion and friendship. Washington High School’s club has about 50 members; therefore, two groups of general education students are rotated each Friday. Current said four years ago, the club had ten members, but this year it grew to 50 members and 70 applicants. 

Project Unify members do fun things like go on field trips and have dance parties. Next semester, they will be part of Unified Sports where an EC student is paired with two general education students and physical education and health class together. Langley cheers with Unify Cheer at football games – a cheer squad that includes young women with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Langley said she enjoys Unified Sports, because sometimes she gets to lead the exercise portion. 

After graduation, Alston would like to work with Beaufort County transportation department because he is interested in school buses and other commercial motor vehicles, according to Washington High School. Langley said she would like to be an employee at a retail store.