Prom perfect: Special needs students celebrate with limo, dinner
by Lindsay Field
March 16, 2013 12:11 AM | 5545 views | 2 2 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Wheeler High School junior Miranda Grantham, 18, watches as nail technician Cindy Lam puts her flip flops on after giving her a pedicure at River Nails. Miranda's mother, Sharon, helps to keep her hands still as her fingernail polish dries.<br>Staff/Emily Barnes
Wheeler High School junior Miranda Grantham, 18, watches as nail technician Cindy Lam puts her flip flops on after giving her a pedicure at River Nails. Miranda's mother, Sharon, helps to keep her hands still as her fingernail polish dries.
Staff/Emily Barnes
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Sharon Grantham holds up a photograph of her daughter's prom dress as Miranda gets a pedicure.<br>Staff/Emily Barnes
Sharon Grantham holds up a photograph of her daughter's prom dress as Miranda gets a pedicure.
Staff/Emily Barnes
slideshow
The idea of one east Cobb family’s 18-year-old daughter going to prom, something they never imagined, brought tears to their eyes and thrills to their hearts.

Miranda Grantham is one of five Wheeler High School special needs students invited by Superior Plumbing to celebrate her first prom with a free limousine ride and dinner at California Dreaming in Kennesaw.

This year’s prom, themed “Masquerade,” will be at Opera Nightclub in downtown Atlanta tonight.

“I cried!” said Miranda’s mother, Sharon Grantham. “Not only is she getting to go to prom, but she was getting to go with the kids in her class. It just feels so normal.”

Miranda was diagnosed with non-verbal autism at 4 years old, which means she can be very expressive but does not speak.

“We didn’t know if she even knew what a prom was, and we debated on whether we should even tell her about it (prior to the invitation),” Sharon Grantham said.

But when the family got a phone call last week from Miranda Grantham’s teacher Ellen Levine, they knew it was something they couldn’t let their daughter miss.

“Miranda just lit up when we told her, clapping her hands and twirling around,” Sharon Grantham said. “The thrill of the limo, riding in a fancy car — she’s just very, very excited.”

Sharon Grantham said her daughter has been counting down the days, and planning for the big day began immediately.

Miranda Grantham had a facial last week, got her eyebrows waxed and wore makeup for the first time.

“She held the mirror right up to her face pretty much the whole time,” Sharon said about the makeup session.

And just when you think the experience couldn’t get any more emotional, Miranda Grantham will be wearing her mother’s prom dress tonight.

“It’s a yellow chiffon dress,” she said.

With Miranda Grantham’s very petite figure standing at 4 feet, 10 inches and weighing about 90 pounds, Sharon Grantham and her younger daughter, Kalie, had a tough time finding a dress that wouldn’t require a lot of alterations.

“We took Miranda and my prom dress to an alterations lady, and Miranda loved it!” Sharon Grantham said.

Miranda Grantham also has been practicing her dance moves.

“Her daddy has been dancing with her at night,” Sharon Grantham said. “She’s just happy about this in every single way. It’s very, very exciting for us.”

Miranda Grantham’s teacher said the idea that her students get to participate in a general education activity like the prom is a terrific opportunity for them.

“This is a really unique experience for them,” Levine said. “I just think that when the kids show up at prom, they will be enfolded and welcomed by the kids.”

Jay Cunningham, the owner of Superior Plumbing, said special needs students at Wheeler are among a few from five other Cobb high schools and two Cherokee County high schools they are treating during prom season.

“We did it last year, and we’re doing it at as many of the high schools as we can,” Cunningham said.

His company purchased the limo a few years ago and decided to do this as a way to give back to the local high schools.

“Quietly, we do a lot of stuff with special needs students and programs,” Cunningham said. “The cool part is the parents. They get to be heroes and send their kids to dinner in a limo, where they might not be able to otherwise.”
Comments
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Editha Chesser
|
March 16, 2013
What a wonderful thing to do.
Spreadlove
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March 19, 2013
I appreciate businesses giving back to the community. Jay Cunningham does so much for the students that is not revealed-that's the way he likes it-it is wonderful to see and highlight acts of kindness in the world. Thank you Jay, and thank you to the MDJ for willingly covering such a positive story.
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