Variety Night Invites Inclusiveness for All


Andrea Sierra

The final performance of the variety show displays what makes the show special.


During a night of clapping, cheering and smiling, perhaps the most defining aspect was the pure joy and innocence that was around everyone. As the night went on, it was clear the impact the B.E.S.T. variety show was having on the kids involved.

“The most special thing besides getting to see them perform is the strut of confidence that they have,” Ms. Escure said. “The strut of the confidence that they have for a couple of weeks after they perform because they have a whole new level of confidence.”

The B.E.S.T. variety show is a talent show, showcasing the abilities of the special needs kids. The program has been around for a while, but this is just the fourth year hosting the variety show. Initially, in 2015, perhaps because of the fear of scrutiny, the show was only available for the parents of the students.

“The first variety show we only invited family and friends, but it was so well received we opened it up,” Escure said.

Andrea Sierra
Members of BEST dance during a performance at the Variety Show. 

The first variety show would look unrecognizable from the one held today. In 2015, the program only had 17 members, not all of which performed. It was a very private affair for the families, but rapidly, the show began to grow.

“The next year we jumped to 107 members the second year and kept adding more to the variety show,” Escure said.

Now, hundreds of students show up to support and cheer on for the many special needs kids. As the audience is encouraged to sing along with the kids as they might sing their favorite song, the inclusiveness is undeniable. The impact on the kids is clear to see watching from the back of an auditorium, and to the parents, the change is massive. For the mother of Andrew Hebert, the impact the show has had couldn’t be bigger.

“The show has been a blessing,” Karen Miller said. “To know that your child is so accepted in a world where you never know if your child is typical or not is amazing. You never know if they’re going to be accepted, and when they get up and perform in front of their peers, you want them to be accepted. To see them welcomed by their peers, it’s the greatest thing as a parent.”

Andrea Sierra
A rendition of Frozen elicited big cheers from the audience.

The work that began in August had a big impact not just on the special needs kids, but many members of the school in the B.E.S.T program. The simultaneous stress relief and sense of pride from seeing the work come together was evident talking to B.E.S.T president, senior Anna Rapp.

“It’s very rewarding to see all the progress that they’ve made from their first rehearsal until the show now; it’s just so cool to be a part of,” Anna Rapp said.

The progress the kids made not just in the show, but with themselves was evident for everyone involved, including Rapp.

“They have so much more confidence walking off the stage than when they walked on,” Rapp said.

Andrea Sierra
Members of the audience watch and participate in the Variety Show.

For everyone involved; the special needs kids, B.E.S.T program members, the parents, teachers, audience members, the impact on the lives of the kids is impossible to ignore. Hearing the cheers for every single kid and the inclusiveness of the event made for a special night.

“It was such a great performance,” Miller said. “Each performance was so entertaining. My husband and I knew we would come back even after Andrew graduates, every year.”