A Night to Shine

As a full moon rose, nearly 200 guests with special needs were treated to a red-carpet experience as they arrived for the Night to Shine prom hosted by The Bible Chapel in McMurray on Feb. 10. It was one of 375 churches in 11 different countries worldwide to host the event, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation.

The men received crowns and boutonnieres and the women got tiaras and corsages. Over 440 volunteers came to either pair with a guest for the evening or help with makeup and hair for the women, or give shoe shines to the men. As Alyssa Anastas of West Mifflin was getting her makeup and hair done by Tracy Tronzo, she said she enjoyed the “food, meeting new people and dancing.” Other volunteers lined a red carpet to greet guests as they returned from a limo ride around the church. Depending on the sensitivity of the guest arriving, the crowd would either cheer and applaud or silently wave and give high-fives.

“The church has a special needs ministry that serves children from birth to 18,” said Jaclyn Stottlemyer, director of special needs ministries at The Bible Chapel. The event, in its second year at the church, has been an entry into reaching adults in the community. For three hours, guests ranging from 14 to 72 sang karaoke, danced and got photos taken in a photo booth. for Mary Jane Conroy of Bethel Park, it was her first time attending the prom. “It was fun,” she said.

As the lights came up on the dance floor and people started leaving, guests Zach Doyle and Kyle Lance were joking and taking selfies with their volunteer buddies for the evening, Lauren Jackson and Jordan Miles. When Brian Doyle arrived to pick up his son, he said this was the second year Zach had attended the event. “It’s awesome. You can’t wipe the smile off his face.” –Rebecca Droke

Nick Sphatt, 17, center, joins in singing “YMCA,” the final song of the Night to Shine prom for nearly 200 people with special needs on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, at The Bible Chapel in McMurray. Night to Shine, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, was held at 375 churches in 11 different countries worldwide Friday night. Nick was thrilled to be at the dance, saying “Tonight was the greatest night ever.” (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)
From left, Rebecca Szabo, Aurora Rubenstein and Rebecca’s brother John Szabo sing along to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” in the karaoke room. (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)
Volunteers line the red carpet to cheer and greet a prom-goer. (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)
Tracy Tronzo, left, of Canonsburg does makeup for Alyssa Anastas of West Mifflin as the Night to Shine prom gets underway. (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)
Kyle Lance, left, shares a moment with Zach Doyle as the Night to Shine prom winds down. (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)
Matthew Dee dances with a guest. (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)
The packed dance floor at the Night to Shine prom. (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)
Mary Jane Conroy sings Taylor Swift’s “Love Song” to her boyfriend Andy Wagner, both of Bethel Park, in the karaoke room. The couple met at a baseball game and have been dating since Thanksgiving. (Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)