Fun is in the air: LNLC students enjoy a Halloween fall festival

Published 4:50 pm Friday, November 2, 2018

PELHAM – Students at the Linda Nolen Learning Center donned Halloween costumes as they enjoyed carnival games, a pumpkin patch, a hay ride and much more at the school’s annual Fall Festival on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Special education teacher Kelsey Collum said students look forward to the event every year and talk about for days after it ends. Collum said about 85 students made their way through the Fall Festival. Students won candy as they played carnival games, which were manned by Peer Helpers from Helena High School.

“Most of our students have a physical disability so our games are tailored to meet the needs of our students,” Collum said. “We wanted to host an event that our students will feel comfortable at and be able to really enjoy. We keep the lights dim and it’s a small setting with low music in an environment they’re familiar with.”

On Halloween, Collum said some students might not feel comfortable wearing a costume, walking up to a stranger’s house, being in a large crowd and might be afraid of the dark, which can make it difficult for them to enjoy traditional Halloween activities.

Helena High School teacher and Peer Helpers sponsor Alex Rogers said this year marked the first time HHS participated in the event.

“We hope we can continue doing stuff like this in partnership with the Linda Nolen Learning Center for years to come,” she said. “This is a great event for our students to be a part of.”

Peer Helper and HHS senior Lauren Caver has been a Peer Helper since her junior year. She said her favorite part about helping with the Fall Festival was seeing the smiles on the students’ faces as they played games.

“My goal in coming here was just to show them that they’re loved,” she said. “I’m thankful to be here because it helps me learn and grow too.”

Caver said being a Peer Helper has broadened her mindset.

“We get to interact with so many different people and that really helps you to put yourself in other’s shoes,” she said. “It helps you become a better person overall because it pushes you outside of your comfort zone and kind of forces you to meet new people and have new experiences.”

Collum thanked Community Baptist Church in Maylene for donating the games for the event, Starbucks and Panera Bread for donating food and beverages for the staff and Cedar Creek Nursery in Montevallo for donating the pumpkins for the pumpkin patch. She also thanked all of the school’s anonymous donors who help the school on a daily basis.