The student news site of Oviedo High School in Oviedo, FL

Oviedo Journalism

The student news site of Oviedo High School in Oviedo, FL

Oviedo Journalism

The student news site of Oviedo High School in Oviedo, FL

Oviedo Journalism

Creating an inclusive community: Best Buddies president strives for a club for all

Senior Mikayla Barton has new plans for the future of the club as the new president
For+the+people%3A+Best+Buddies+president+Mikayla+Barton+talks+to+club+members+in+the+old+gym+at+a+Special+Olympics-themed+meeting+on+September+28.+Club+attendance+and+membership+has+largely+increased+since+Barton+became+president.+This+is+Barton%E2%80%99s+fourth+year+in+the+club+and+first+as+president.
Grace Pearl
For the people: Best Buddies president Mikayla Barton talks to club members in the old gym at a Special Olympics-themed meeting on September 28. Club attendance and membership has largely increased since Barton became president. This is Barton’s fourth year in the club and first as president.

Kindness and inclusivity are the primary focus of Oviedo High School’s chapter of Best Buddies International. Best Buddies is an American nonprofit geared toward connecting people with individuals who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. The club is headed by president Mikayla Barton, who, this year, is aiming to make the club a way for all students to connect with each other in an inclusive way.

This 2023-2024 school year, the main goal of the club’s leadership board is working to increase membership and improve participation at monthly general body meetings and buddy lunches.

“The activities and events we do and have planned are more engaging and exciting,” junior Madeline Baczek, the vice president of Best Buddies, said. “…it’s really a club where you can’t be mean, so it creates such a safe place for all students.”

The club is sponsored by beloved teacher Mrs. Rogers who teaches Early Childhood levels 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. The monthly club meetings are held in her classroom: 8-015.

“I knew the sponsor was going to be my teacher later in high school so I knew I wanted to get to know her better,” Baczek said.

Best Buddies is a club that has a primary goal of providing a positive environment for everyone involved. Barton’s objective is to ensure that members had a safe place to socialize with others.

“There’s such a large community of students with intellectual developmental disabilities that just need a place to feel accepted and included,” Barton said.

Barton has been a member of the Oviedo chapter of Best Buddies since freshman year, and first became interested in the club after their brother was diagnosed with autism.

“I wanted to be a part of this because it’s like so much larger than just my brother,” Barton said. “There’s such like a large community of students with intellectual developmental disabilities that just need a place to feel accepted and included.”

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