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Special needs students shine in Tooele pageant

By Nkoyo Iyamba | Posted - May 10, 2012 at 8:52 a.m.


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TOOELE — A group of Tooele high school students is competing in a special pageant that provides the chance to be "Mr. and Miss Amazing."

The second annual Tooele County Mr. & Miss Amazing Pageant has been a year in the making and the contestants are enthusiastic.

Rebecca Ford, a special needs teacher at Tooele High, said, "They can't sleep at night. They're having a hard time focusing in class because they're just so excited and want to try their dresses on."

Tooele County Mr. & Miss Amazing Pageant
A pageant for people with disabilities (ages 14-24) in Tooele County.
  • Cost- $5
  • Student with activity card - $4
  • Family of 5 pass- $20
  • Silent auction 6:30 – 8:30

Ford started the event last year for her severely special needs students. It's a night in which the students are stars, when the lights shine on their abilities rather than their disabilities.

"It gives the contestants a chance for one night to feel their absolute best," Ford said.

Approximately 14 young men and women between the ages of 14 and 24 will be judged on typical pageant categories like poise, grace, talent, on-stage answers, formal wear, plus something special — superhero costumes.

Charles and Jane Autry's son Levi is one of the contestants.

Jane said, "It's bringing out the best in the kids. It's not comparing them to the world's standards of beauty. They have fabulous singing voices."

"The competition is so intense out there for the normal person. These kids don't feel that," she added.

Peer mentors escort the contestants on and off stage. They say the pageant serves as a life lesson that can't be taught, only experienced.

One peer tutor, Justin Pollmann, said, "They can teach you to be humble. They can teach you to be happy, because they're always so happy."

The pageant takes place at Tooele High School tonight at 7.

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