Best buddies Buzz


Grace Elder

Abel Tranjora celebrates after he announces he has a bingo. Ramos checks his board before he gets a special prize.

The sounds of students laughing and visiting rang through the air in room 281 on Oct. 28 during the SHS Best Buddies Halloween party.

But, just one year ago, this wouldn’t have been possible. During the 2020-20201 school year, Best Buddies only had one in-person meeting before COVID-19 prevented the rest from happening.

This year, Best Buddies is back and stronger than ever, ready to impact the lives of many.

“It’s really nice as a sponsor to look around the room and just see everybody excited to be there,” sponsor Erin Percifield said. “You can see the smiles in their eyes and in the body language, and you can just tell that everybody is excited to be together again.”

Like many clubs last year, Best Buddies had trouble meeting virtually. Whether it was conflicting schedules or technology problems, meeting virtually wasn’t effective.

Now that they’re back in person, things are picking back up again. The club has over 30 members this year, which is up from not only last year, but pre-COVID years as well.

Best Buddies allows students with disabilities to connect with other students at SHS, so having more people in the club only helps them to feel even more connected.

For Percifield, it’s this connection that makes Best Buddies so rewarding to be a part of.

“For me it’s just being able to see the students with intellectual disabilities feel like they’re part of something and that they have friends,” Percifield said. “That they’re not judged for what they can and cannot do.”

Nick Laurence said that “everything” is his favorite part. And Abel Tajonar said that the people who he has met are “sunny” and placed his hand over his heart to show how meaningful the club is to him.

Sophomore Mary Pfeiffer and her sister, senior Lauren Pfeiffer, are both members. Lauren has Prader-Willi Syndrome, which is a genetic disorder caused by missing genetic material in chromosome 15, and Mary can attest to how helpful the club has been for sister.

“It’s helped her make a lot of friends with people that she does have classes with,” Pfeiffer said.

These students aren’t the only ones who benefit though. Sophomore Kaia Heaton joined Best Buddies this year after taking part in Unified Track last spring.

Many students who do Unified Track also do Best Buddies, and she loves the opportunity it gives her to continue seeing them.

According to Heaton, Best Buddies has a contagious excitement that can get her out of a bad mood. It’s what she, and all other members, look forward to.

“When you get there, it’s super energetic and hype, everyone is so excited to be there, so it makes you excited to be there,” Heaton said. “Even if you’re having a bad day, you go in there and you’re like ‘Oh my gosh, everyone’s so happy, I’m so excited to be here.’”