Students from Merced County Office of Education’s special education programs was scheduled to put on a free public performance on Wednesday, July 3 at 10 a.m. at the Golden Valley High School theater.
It’s called the Very Special Arts program and has been held for 22 years. The showcase of talent is well-received by an enthusiastic audience of friends, family members and community supporters.
John Russell-Curry, an MCOE teacher of orthopedically impaired students throughout the county, directs the production which lasts about an hour.
Severely handicapped students, those in deaf and hard-of-hearing programs and orthopedically handicapped students take part in the program.
“This is a showcase of talent that presents the abilities of those with special needs to the community. This is an empowerment for the participants,” Russell-Curry said. “They are planning this throughout the year and present songs, jokes and dances, with material suitable for all ages. It has always been a successful and positive presentation.”
Russell-Curry said the list is long of those who help with the production. This year costs of the summer school program were covered by a grant from the California State Arts Council and funding from MCOE.
As the show has gotten bigger, it outgrew its previous venue, the Merced Multicultural Arts Center in downtown Merced. Students from middle school and high school programs participate and adult students return to help their younger peers.