Students with special needs present Prism play

The Daily News

Carter Tharp performs a part of Eminem’s “Not Afraid” during a rehearsal of the Prism Project on Sunday. The event gave children a chance to perform on stage and to advance their social skills. DN PHOTO TAYLOR IRBY
Carter Tharp performs a part of Eminem’s “Not Afraid” during a rehearsal of the Prism Project on Sunday. The event gave children a chance to perform on stage and to advance their social skills. DN PHOTO TAYLOR IRBY





Singing, dancing, rapping and even a treasure hunt helped illustrate one thing Tuesday night: a label doesn’t mean unable.

Students and community members saw Prism kids showing everyone what they excel at, even though they have a disability; leaving less than 15 empty seats in Pruis Hall Tuesday night. 

“The stereotype is based on what these kids cannot do, but it’s amazing to see what they can do,” said Kirsti Emery, an immersive learning participant and junior elementary education and special education double major. 

Children between the ages of 6 and 14 with special needs showed off their skills, whether that is playing the drums, dancing in a version of the fight scene from “West Side Story” or, as one participant demonstrated, how many times you can bow on your way off stage. 

This year’s theme, “Prism the Musical,” used a lesson on the different pieces of a music to illustrate the way children with special needs create and achieve their dreams. 

Adaptations of heartwarming songs from musicals such as “The Lion King,” “Annie” and “West Side Story” to a reprisal of John Lennon’s “Imagine” all worked to show the audience that the kids are far more than a label.

Sam Sheeks, a sophomore acting major, said she attended the event because she heard friends talk about how heartwarming and inspiring the five year old program had been in the past and wanted to see for herself.

“When they give kids the opportunity to do solos and showcase things in a way they normally may not, it’s a great thing,” she said.

Violet, 8, achieved one of her dreams Tuesday singing the part of Timon in the group’s rendition of “Hakuna Matata.” 

Violet said she was happy to finally do her solo after her first year in Prism, which gives her something she really enjoys. 

“I get to be myself,” she said. 

Claire Lefkowicz, assistant music director of “Prism the musical,” said the most impactful aspect of working with the Prism kids is watching them work so hard to learn the moves and the words, then seeing the “a-ha” moment when they perform it exactly like she had taught them.

She said whether it’s helping them learn a move or just laughing with them, “the smallest things you do can make a difference.

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