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CHS Girls varsity soccer, courtesy of CHS Yearbook
CHS Cut vs. Uncut Sports
January 29, 2024

Behind the Scenes of Best Buddies

Students+Nathaneal+Buzan%2C+Corey+Walker-Milligan%2C+Best+Buddies+president+Angelo+Luchini+and+Dalilah+Cunningham+left+to+right%2C+courtesy+of+Angelo+Luchini
Students Nathaneal Buzan, Corey Walker-Milligan, Best Buddies president Angelo Luchini and Dalilah Cunningham left to right, courtesy of Angelo Luchini

When asked about clubs and organizations at Camas High School (CHS), one might mention DECA, Key Club or Red Cross. However, plenty of clubs also tend to fly under the radar of recognition. Standing out from the rest, the Best Buddies club is centered around supporting students with disabilities and practicing inclusivity. 

Becca Farrester, the club advisor of Best Buddies, describes the group as a community meant to “support people with disabilities and build relationships between typically developing people, and people who have disabilities and need a little more support.” 

CHS student Sophie Werner and a Para Educator, courtesy of Angelo Luchini

Angelo Luchini, president of the club, describes it as community-driven since events are often held to connect with the students. For example, a Thanksgiving feast was organized the week before Thanksgiving break, where the club made a meal with the students, teaching them different skills such as peeling and cutting vegetables, learning how to use the stove and being safe in the kitchen. 

Luchini also takes the students to the choir room, which they greatly enjoy. 

 The Best Buddies Club might seem small at CHS, but the program stretches beyond the school. It started 50 years ago as an international organization connected with the Special Olympics, the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Both organizations work to support people with disabilities and bridge the gap between them and typically developing people. 

“It’s about making a difference and building relationships with people who you think are so different from you, but you find out they have many of the same things in common. Just to be able to laugh together, have fun, tell jokes and enjoy [is what the club is all about],” Farrester said.

The program started only a year ago at CHS. Senior Shelby Reed handed it off to Luchini when she graduated, and he is currently using Best Buddies to structure his senior project, just as Reed did the year before. 

Students Carsten Ekstrom, Angelo Luchini and Nathaneal Buzan left to right, courtesy of Angelo Luchini

Luchini himself has a great love for the program. His mom, a lawyer who deals with special needs trusts and wills specifically for kids and families with higher needs, inspired him to join. Luchini could tag along with his mom occasionally, which led him to Best Buddies at CHS. It makes him happy to connect with the kids and provide them with more opportunities in the school.

“They really benefit from having us students come down there and hang out because they don’t really get that normal, typical interaction with general ed students other than themselves,” Luchini said.

At its center, no matter where the Best Buddies program is held, its goal is to make a difference and support the connection of all students. 

The Best Buddies club is held every Thursday during Student Support in room 901. Luchini recommends anyone who is patient and open-minded to hang out with students with developmental disabilities join in the activities. 

After all, engaging in locally offered clubs and organizations is a big part of building community. There is no better place to start than CHS.

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Isabella Warner, Staff Writer

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