Buddied up: Conestoga hosts annual talent show

By Tiffany He, Co-T/E-Life Editor

It’s not every day that you see Santa Claus dancing to “The Best Day Ever” from SpongeBob in the auditorium.

On April 11, the Conestoga Best Buddies Club hosted their annual talent show, inviting six other schools in the area to shine the spotlight on their Buddies. Joined by Great Valley, Haverford, Henderson, Plymouth Whitemarsh, Radnor and Unionville High Schools, more than 250 students performed in the event, the largest number ever. After their performances, Best Buddies celebrated with a pizza party provided by Conestoga.

Club adviser Caron Wirth has helped organize the show for the past eight years. She said the club members dedicated hours after school choreographing and since after winter break, practicing.

“I would not have gotten up on stage in high school to perform like them. These kids have been practicing and they don’t even think about getting up on stage. They just love it and they work really hard,” Wirth said.

Best Buddies is an international organization that provides peers to children who have different abilities. At the beginning of each year, club officers pair Buddies with club members, forming long-lasting friendships. Co-club president Katie Martin has been a part of the club since her freshman year.

“Best Buddies has been the best part of my high school journey,” Martin said. “When you are creating a one-on-one friendship with someone, it becomes something you want to do versus something you have to do. I have met my best friends through Best Buddies, and I have learned how to look through different perspectives and how to be acceptive and inclusive of others.”

To showcase this year’s theme, TV shows, the Best Buddies danced to the theme songs of popular shows. Last year, the Best Buddies waltzed to Disney tunes and the year before that they grooved to the music of the ’90s. Conestoga’s performance featured a mashup of “Hannah Montana,” “Friends,” “Drake and Josh” and “Little Einsteins.”

“Every school is doing a different TV show theme song. It’s meant to get the crowd excited about the dance and the songs that the people will know,” Martin said.

The emcee for the program, English teacher Michael Trainer, spoke between each act from first period to fifth.

“He’s awesome. Mr.Trainer gets the audience really involved. He’ll go out and have them sing or he’ll put them on the spot. He makes the Buddies feel very special. It’s a very inclusive day,” Wirth said.

After the first performance during second period, Trainer shared a sweet moment with the audience. Senior Buddy Johnathan Stanton, called to the stage by Trainer, returned with a bouquet of beautiful hydrangeas in hand. With all eyes on him, he asked fellow Buddy Lauren Kilgore to senior prom. This heartwarming promposal was met with a standing ovation.

“No one knew that he (Stanton) was going to do it, but he did and it was really nice of him,” junior club member Manasseh Teshome said.

Martin hopes that the club will continue this tradition even after she graduates.

“We want people to see how talented they (the Best Buddies) are and how hard they work. It’s a good way for people in school to see kids they don’t see in the hallways or in their classes very often,” Martin said.