Friday was 'Night to Shine' for St. Mary guests, volunteers

PATTERSON – Friday was a special night for special people.
It was a Night to Shine at Patterson Junior High, one of a series of prom nights across the country in a program spearheaded by the Tim Tebow Foundation. The former Florida quarterback and National Football League player is known for his commitment to Christianity on and off the field.
“Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older,” the foundation website says. “On one night … more than 540 churches from around the world will come together to host Night to Shine for approximately 90,000 honored guests through the support of 175,000 volunteers.”
Seventy-seven of those guests and 150 of those volunteers came together at Patterson Junior, said Kayla Marcatonio, the discipleship pastor at Crossing Place church.
Crossing Place is one of the local institutions that provided volunteers for the event, along with the local Kiwanis Club, the Higher Ground Family Church, school Key and Beta clubs, and more.
The special guests were people involved in ARC, the program for those with physical and developmental disabilities. And they were especially special Friday night. The event is called a prom, but there was a touch of Oscar night, too.
Each guest arrived in a stretch limo and walked into the school on a red carpet lined with cheering specta-tors.
Inside, Marcatonio said, each guest had a buddy to help navigate through the stations devoted to hair-styling, makeup, shoeshines and boutonnieres. Each guest received a crown to wear.
And that’s good, because at this event, every guest was a prom king or prom queen.
“The main goal is to celebrate life,” Marcatonio said, “and to celebrate those with special needs.”

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