Looking for an uplifting story during these challenging times? Meet Northville High School’s Fantastic Four: Cecilia “Ce” Richard, the senior citizen, and teachers Kelsey Mikiciuk, Stacey Sutter, and Sabrina Palumbo.
Largely due to the excruciating inconvenience caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Richard, a student in Mikiciuk’s multi-class classroom, did not have an escort for the district’s senior prom on May 27, the details of which were not worked out until early May due to fluidity social distancing mandates.
The pandemic was particularly harsh on Richard, who also lost her final season with Northville’s Unified basketball team, which puts general education students in line with Special Olympics athletes.
“Before the pandemic, we always had high school students working with us in the classroom and taking our cross-class students to prom,” Mikiciuk explained. “But that wasn’t possible this year due to social distancing restrictions.
“When I found out that Cecilia needed an escort for prom, it was a breeze to make plans so she could leave. I’ve been her teacher for the past four years, I’ve gotten close to her. I know how you love Disney and weird things very much. I called Stacey and Sabrina, who coached their unified basketball team and are high school teachers, to see if they’d like to join us. They didn’t hesitate. They like Cecilia as much as I am. “
One afternoon in the days leading up to the prom, the teacher trio orchestrated a surprising proposal for Cecilia.
“Ce was so surprised by the offer that she could only smile and give both thumbs up,” said Patty Vincent-Richard, Cecilia’s mother. “As she left the room, she told Kelsey that she was surprised, but it was a good surprise. Cecilia burst into tears and said, ‘Miss M., I’m so happy that you want to go to prom with me. “
Prom night couldn’t have gone better for Cecilia and her three companions. In a stunning pink gown, Cecilia embraced the night like Cinderella and took part in everything from photo opportunities to games and activities strategically located in downtown Northville to ensure all of the borough’s seniors had a memorable one despite the unique setting Enjoyed evening.
“It was the last hurray for Cecilia and her senior colleagues so we wanted to make sure it was a special night,” said Mikiciuk. “It was a lot of fun all night, but I think the highlight for Ce was when she kicked our butts on little things. The highlight for me was how all the students ran to Ce and hugged her. I think we had as much fun as Ce. “
The four of them enjoyed an amazing meal at table 5 in downtown Northville, Mikiciuk shared before Cecilia was picked up by parents Patty and Rob, who were driving their daughter home.
“When we picked Ce up, I asked her to describe the night in one word,” said Patty Richard. “She thought a little and then said, ‘Magical’.”
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“We can’t thank these teachers enough for their work. They’ve spent long weeks, they have families of their own, and are likely to be exhausted by the end of the week. But they were determined to give Ce. A night they did.” would never forget and they delivered.
“I am so grateful for the people who really value Cecilia for who she is. These teachers who teach in the inter-class classrooms and in special schools are gifted; they have a calling.”
And thanks to three thoughtful, generous educators, Cecilia Richard enjoyed a night full of memories she will never forget – like something straight out of an enchanted Disney movie.
Contact reporter Ed Wright at email@example.com or 517-375-1113./