Red Oak High School students are used to making homecoming mums and garters for their special needs peers, but this year they turned the Texas tradition around in a special way.

“We held a special work session where we worked with the special needs students on making their individual mum,” Red Oak High School Student Council Lead Sponsor Angela Thomas said. “We had stations set up so each student could work with a buddy to assemble their mum step by step. We liked doing it this way so much better.”

Thomas said about 25 council members helped about 40 other students to create the elaborate floral pins. As part of the Texas Association of Student Councils, the council chose the workshop project as a way to fulfill this year’s state theme - Level Up Your Leadership.

“Basically, to find ways to go beyond what we’ve always done,” said Thomas in explaining the meaning of the theme. “That challenge encouraged the students to want to work with their special needs classmates.”

Thomas pointed out that the council works to create an inclusive environment for all students. Making mums for the special needs students started “a few years ago” so they could “feel more included during the excitement of Homecoming Week.”

Having the students take a hands-on approach in a workshop setting this time around is another step toward inclusivity.

“Kindness and building a positive culture is very important to the district, but especially to our students,” Thomas emphasized. “We share a building with almost 2000 students and Student Council wants it to be a place where people are proud to come to their school. This project is just one example of how Student Council is trying to build up a culture of kindness and acceptance.”