Cy Woods impacts students with special needs in ‘Mums for LIFE’

September 29, 2017

Cypress Woods junior student Amber Uzzle gives sophomore student Valentin Dupperay a homecoming garter during his class period on Sept. 28. The Cypress Woods student council organized the “Mums for LIFE” effort for LIFE Skills students for the fourth straight year.
Cypress Woods junior student Amber Uzzle gives sophomore student Valentin Dupperay a homecoming garter during his class period on Sept. 28. The Cypress Woods student council organized the “Mums for LIFE” effort for LIFE Skills students for the fourth straight year. 

Sept. 29, 2017—A special Cypress Woods High School homecoming tradition continued this week, as dozens of Wildcats delivered mums and garters to students with special needs as part of “Mums for LIFE” on Sept. 28.

The program was launched in 2014 by Cypress Woods graduate Cami Beardmore, who was inspired by a family member with a disability.

“He was looking at her mum and expressed to her, ‘I would have liked to have a pretty girl give me something like that in high school,’” recalled Leigh Ann Crank, Carlton Center instructional support specialist. “It touched her heart and that’s what inspired this Mums for Life movement.”

Beardmore, who graduated in 2017, passed the torch to Wildcat junior Bailey Peschel, who worked with the student council to organize a mum donation sign-up list.

Cypress Woods senior student Bolu Orundami shows off his garter as fellow Wildcats (from left) Evan Roberts, junior; Cami Bird, sophomore; and Janelle Pierson, senior, enjoy the moment during “Mums for LIFE.”
Cypress Woods senior student Bolu Orundami shows off his garter as fellow Wildcats (from left) Evan Roberts, junior; Cami Bird, sophomore; and Janelle Pierson, senior, enjoy the moment during “Mums for LIFE.”

“The students either make one or donate a previously used one they’re not using anymore,” Peschel said. “They personalize it by putting the student’s name and grade level on it. They add a lot of Cy Woods ribbons. We want them to be included as part of the fun tradition.”

The Cypress Woods students distributed approximately 60 mums and garters to LIFE Skills students at the school, as well as students with special needs who attend the neighboring Carlton Center.

Cypress Woods junior Esmeralda Solano celebrates her homecoming mum with senior Hannah Garcia during “Mums for LIFE” on Sept. 28.
Cypress Woods junior Esmeralda Solano celebrates her homecoming mum with senior Hannah Garcia during “Mums for LIFE” on Sept. 28. 

The Wildcats’ cheer team and mascot Chester Wildcat also put on a homecoming pep rally for the Carlton Center students on Sept. 28.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for our students to be a part of something that typically they are not a part of,” said Rhonda Turns, Carlton Center director. “It’s a highlight of their year. We are ever grateful to Cy Woods for doing it every year.”

Peschel said she was proud to take over the program.

“Mums for LIFE makes me really proud because you see the community coming together to help out,” she said. “I picked up a mum from one girl’s house who had flooded. She had furniture in her yard but she was still willing to donate a garter and her time. It shows how much spirit we have when we all come together.”

Cypress Woods senior Taylor Kirk talks about her homecoming mum with staff members Abby Paysse, left, and Jacob Chacon and junior student Camryn Moore during “Mums for LIFE.”
Cypress Woods senior Taylor Kirk talks about her homecoming mum with staff members Abby Paysse, left, and Jacob Chacon and junior student Camryn Moore during “Mums for LIFE.”

Senior Haley Gunderson, the student body president, said she came out of the event with a priceless feeling.

Cypress Woods senior Lauren Knight fits a Carlton Center student with a homecoming garter during the “Mums for LIFE” project on Sept. 28.
Cypress Woods senior Lauren Knight fits a Carlton Center student with a homecoming garter during the “Mums for LIFE” project on Sept. 28. 

Cypress Woods cheerleaders and mascot Chester the Wildcat joined Carlton Center students with special needs for a pep rally to commemorate the mum and garter giveaway on Sept. 28.
Cypress Woods cheerleaders and mascot Chester the Wildcat joined Carlton Center students with special needs for a pep rally to commemorate the mum and garter giveaway on Sept. 28. 

“The LIFE Skills kids have an overwhelming amount of love for everyone, and this is an amazing program to give this love back to them,” Gunderson said. “They find the joy in everything and I think we can learn a lot from that. This is my favorite part of homecoming week. There’s a lot going on this week, but this is the one I look forward to the most.”

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