Eureka High School Named Best Buddies High School Chapter of the Year
October 19, 2023 - “It was a surreal experience,” said Charlotte Flowers, a junior at Eureka High School and Best Buddies secretary. That’s how she describes the moment her school was announced as Missouri’s Best Buddies High School Chapter of the Year at the annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference, held at Indian University.
“I didn’t even know we were nominated,” said Flowers. “I found out the night before the ceremony. It felt really good knowing that our chapter was being noticed considering that there are so many other high school chapters in the state. It was really cool that we were the ones chosen.”
Best Buddies is a non-profit organization that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“Our goal is inclusion,” said John Deavers, SSD teacher. “We want students to feel as though they are a part of their school community. We create opportunities for students, with and without disabilities, during and outside of school, to interact socially with their peers.”
The club was established seven years ago and they host events every month. Some activities have included a talent show, bowling, basketball and soccer games, singing Christmas carols, and creating pet blankets for the Missouri Humane Society.
“My favorite activity was when we played cornhole,” said Ethan Wylie, Best Buddies member and SSD student. “I did that with my buddy Ben. I think everyone should join because it can help you make new friends.”
Hailey Schneider, senior Eureka student and president of the club, is proud of her team's hard work and that they received such a high distinction. When she originally joined the club four years ago in middle school, she had no idea that it would have such a positive impact on her primary and secondary education.
“I joined because I wanted to become more involved at school,” said Schneider. “I quickly fell in love with it and now I get so excited every week to interact and socialize with everyone.”
In the future, Deavers hopes that Best Buddies can be offered at every school.