ASAA Holiday Dance Rocks the Castle

By Purnell T. Cropper | December 9, 2011

By Michael Schwartz ’14

The Arcadia Special Athletes Association (ASAA) hosted a holiday dance for Special Olympics athletes on the evening of Dec. 8. The festivities included food, tunes and dancing, which left a smile on everyone’s face.

Members of the ASAA do a remarkable job of time management, completing coursework, leading campus activities and working with special athletes. Becca Hayman ’12 and Brittany Carballo-Ramos ’12 have always found helping out rewarding. “We have been volunteering since our first year [at Arcadia],” says Haymon. “We coach them with volleyball every week and then during the holidays they come here to get to see where we come from and what we do.” In regards to the event, Ramos adds, “Santa always come to visit [ASAA’s holiday dance] so that’s’ always fun.”

Dennis Russell, who has worked with special athletes for more than 38 years, organized the event and was in attendance. He says the ASAA dance has become an annual event that everyone looks forward to and is a great opportunity to showcase a wonderful group of people. He explains that the Rotary Club of Glenside supports the Rotary Special Athletes, an active group that competes in volleyball, takes part in year-round social activities and includes members ages 15 to 60.

The night’s festivities wouldn’t have been possible without Samantha Lucianno ’12 and Brittany Dutch ’12, who helped coordinate the dance. Russell was especially appreciative of all the hard work and effort Arcadia students put in working with the athletes and motivating new students to come join the ASAA.

The evening was punctuated with a cheer from the crowd when Dave Paone ’04,’09M, a member of Arcadia’s Board of Trustees, arrived as Santa Claus to the tune of “Santa’s Coming to Town,” along with elves, Lucianno and Dutch. Paone truly loves the organization and the impact it has on the lives of the athletes. “All our volunteers get together and there are no special needs, there are no individuals with disabilities—it’s just everybody having a good time. The dances are a great way for Arcadia to all come together to just cheer on and encourage some of these athletes that really, really feed off of encouragement and support of other people. It’s the greatest organization and I love to be a part of it.”

Jack Jephson, Director of Intramurals and Recreation, prioritizes this event because he values the relationships he’s built with the athletes and that they built with each other. “Give a little bit of your time and show that you care, that’s what they actually care about.”

Photos by Kara Wright ’14