To the Editor:
What a fabuleuse soirée à Paris we had at the May 5 Spring Formal for adults and teens with special needs!
Our DJ Steven Knox was awesome, as was our forever friend and photographer Jaime Escarpeta. McCaffrey’s provided a lovely dinner and PSS (Princeton Special Sports) parent Ashley Oppenheimer-Fink of A Touch of Magic blew us away with her gorgeous cakes.
This event has grown a lot from the small alternative “teen prom” it was when we started, which would not have happened without our partners at the Princeton Recreation Department. Special thanks to Joe Marrolli and Stacie Ryan. So much of what they do is behind the scenes, but they make everything possible.
This year’s theme was an ambitious one that we could not have accomplished without Abitha Ravichander, Hana Oresky, Katerina Bubnovsky, Radha Iyer, Rhea Ravichander, Sethu Iyer, and Valerie Walker. The unprecedented amount of time these already busy people spent this year enabled us to transform the Suzanne Patterson Center into a real City of Lights! Thank you, too, to the other adult volunteers who helped us set up, chaperone, and get everything cleaned up after: Eileen Bitterly, Stephanie Corrado, Liz Cutler, John Groeger, Sethu Iyer, Kevin Kane, Tom Kreutz, Andrea Lobo, Joe Marrolli, Joan Morelli, Alex Oppenheimer-Fink, Trudy Sugiura, Yasuo Sugiura, Wendy Vasquez, and Chiemi York.
It is always our student volunteers who make the Formal such a fabulous evening; we can’t convey adequately how important these kids are to our participants. Thank you to Matt Ams, Maddie Bitterly, Olivia Browndorf, Phoebe Elias, Talia Fiester, Abe Koffman, Ella Kotsen, Grace Lynch, Jack Lynch, Lauren Morelli, Cami Poniz, Gracie Poston, Rhea Ravinchander, Marli Siciliano, Declan Rourke, May Kotsen, and Charlotte Walker.
Our heartfelt thanks and au revoir to Ann Diver who has managed the PSS student volunteer program for the last 13 years, and to Joe Marrolli whose commitment to special needs programming has been extraordinary. We miss you both already! And une gracieuse bienvenue to Valerie Walker and John Groeger, who are taking over for Ann and Joe.
Our last dance of the season will be our annual pool party, dance, and BBQ at the Princeton Community Pool on June 2. Swimming will be from 6:30 to 7:30 (weather permitting), followed by BBQ and dancing. For more information or to register, go to princetonrecreation.com or princetonspecialsports.com.
People with special needs are our friends, our relatives, and our neighbors. Like the rest of us, they have varied skills, personalities, and interests. Yet there are still too few opportunities for them to contribute, and to interact and socialize with each other and with us. If you’re part of a community organization, if you have a job to offer, or if you just have an idea like the one that led to PSS 18 years ago, please consider this segment of our community. You’ll never regret it!
Deborah Martin Norcross
Co-President, Princeton Special Sports