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PVHS Panther Pal Welcome Dance back button

PVHS Student Leaders welcomed incoming severely handicapped students from Tommie Kunst Junior High School during the 4th Annual Panther Pal Welcome Dance on Thursday.

The noon event, which is designed to ease the stress of entering a new school, is important because many of the handicapped students don’t have the opportunity to participate in the Link Crew or other freshman-orientation activities.

“The move can be troublesome or traumatic,’’ said PV Special Ed teacher Jody Dowell. “The dance provided students a chance to socialize and celebrate their school age peers in the district. It was an opportunity to experience high school in a fun and positive manner before students start in August. The introduction showed the best aspects of PV Panther Pride.’’

Student Council members, under the direction of Activity Director Lisa Walters, staffed the event.

Seniors Viviana Salazar and Savannah Smith, who both have participated for four years, found the experiencing rewarding.

“It is super fun and I don’t consider them disabled,’’ Salazar said. “They just have different capabilities.’’

Smith agreed, adding “It’s always special because this environment makes everyone the same.’’

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is committed to ensuring equal, fair, and meaningful access to employment and education services. The SMJUHSD does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis and/or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, ethnic group identifications, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital, family or parental status, medical condition, military or veteran status, nationality, national origin, immigration status, political affiliation, pregnancy and related conditions, race, religion, retaliation, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by California state and federal nondiscrimination laws respectively. Not all bases of discrimination will apply to both education services and employment. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, immediately contact the District’s Discrimination, Equity and Title IX Compliance Officer Mr. Kevin R. Platt at 2560 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, (805) 922-4573 or You may request a copy of SMJUHSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, Non-Discrimination Policies, Sexual Harassment Policies or click here.