AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – South Aiken High School cares for all of its students. That’s why it’s no surprise that the South Aiken Buddy Club is a huge success.
“The South Aiken Buddy Club is a partnership between some of our students and our students who have special needs. Part of what it does is it gives those students an advocate, it also gives those students a partner. They have unified P.E. class together, they socialize together, a lot of those students eat lunch with those students and have a good time and it builds those relationships,” said Principal, Samuel Fuller.
The South Aiken Buddy Club has been going on for 8 years and students love the program.
“Students actually have to volunteer, they don’t get told they volunteer. They go through an application process and it’s a very selective process to be a buddy for the special needs students,” said Fuller.
“It’s been a really good thing. It’s been pretty cool to see how the kids have gotten to know each other and we’ve actually had 2 or 3 kids that have graduated that end up going into teaching special education,” said Head Football Coach, Chris Hamilton.
“It helps the gen-ed students by letting them get to know special education students and make lasting connections and it also helps our special education students get to know their gen-ed peers and get to do activities they may not get to do outside of school,” said Special Education teacher, Makayla Watkins.
While spending time with a partner P.E. class, going on field trips, and doing community activities, lifelong bonds are formed between the students.
“Her name is Angel and she has become one of my best friends. Angel is always there to make you laugh and she’s just always there to talk to you no matter what kind of feeling you’re feeling that day,” said Senior, Emma Polewski.
The South Aiken Buddy Club is a success and staff and students are thankful that the school has the program.
“We say at South Aiken, ‘All Means All’ and I think that really hits home with that, that all students are important, all students mean something,” said Hamilton.
“Thank you for just being so inclusive. We have a great inclusive high school. Not only just our Buddy Club kids but our teachers, the other students who may not be in Buddy Club, they still say hey to our kids, they still try to get to know them, our kids are just well known throughout the school which is an amazing accomplishment here at South Aiken High School,” said Watkins.