Best Buddies celebrates forming friendships at Wareham High School

Feb 9, 2018

Members of Wareham High School's Best Buddies club spent Friday night celebrating what the club promotes: establishing friendships, making connections and inspiring other students.

Best Buddies is a group of students who befriend those with intellectual disabilities in the school and spend time with them, helping them strengthen their social life.

“We want to give them a ‘normal’ high school experience,” said Gwen Miceli, a senior and president of the Best Buddies chapter. She has been with the group for five years.

Club members pair up with each other based on interests and personalities, said Megan Kashner, the Best Buddies advisor and special education teacher at Wareham High School. The group of 25 students goes to football games and plays together, as well as holding parties and other group activities.

“We're all just like a big family,” said Emily Bird, a Best Buddies member in ninth grade.

The club allows students to make friends with people they might not have met otherwise, said club member Cecilia Bottino.

“I love the integration of students and doing things together,” Bottino said. “It's always such a positive vibe all the time.”

However, the number of events Best Buddies can hold has been limited because of the school budget, Kashner said.

“Our events are cut back because there's no late buses this year,” Kashner said, noting it's difficult for some students to find transportation because of that. “It's really hindered our after-school activities.”

That didn't stop students from having a blast dancing and playing musical chairs at the Valentine's Day themed party at Salerno's Function Hall. The Salerno family has been a “huge supporter” of Best Buddies, Kashner said.

This year, Best Buddies will donate the proceeds from their annual pancake breakfast to Wareham CORE and its effort to create an inclusive playground.