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Valley High Prom Will Be Marked By Very Special Dates For 16 Couples

SANTA ANA ( —  Students at Santa Ana's Valley High are preparing for their prom Friday evening.

For 16 students, the prom will also be a lesson about inclusion and compassion.

CBS2's Michele Gile spoke to some of the eager students.

For some of the students, she reported, something like a formal dance is something they've never experienced.

"I like your tux, it's really pretty. And it matches my dress," student Adriana Padilla said to her date.

Her date is Andrew Villa, a senior with an intellectual disability.

Through a program at Valley High called Valley Stars, Villa met Padilla, a non-disabled peer.

He asked her to be his date.

Gile asked him what he said. "Will you go to prom with me," he says. "She said, yeah."

Valley Stars was formed four years ago. Teens without disabilities spend lunch hours with teens with disabilities and friendships are made.

In many of these cases, Gile reports, kids team up and go to prom together.

This evening, 16 Valley Stars couples are headed to the big dance.

"It benefits both parties," says special education teacher Blake Smith. "They learn empathy from each other. They learn just how to be a good person."

Santa Ana Kiwanis kicked in $500 to help defray costs of the evening to buy prom tickets. There were also free haircuts, donated tux rentals, dresses and makeup sessions. They were all donated.

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