The smiles were wide on Friday night at Schreiner University as people with special needs were celebrated with one of the things that make life grand — a dance party. 

Well, it was a little more formal than a dance party, but it was practically perfect for all who danced the night away at “Night To Shine.” 

The annual celebration is a nationwide prom-style event sponsored by former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who sent out video messages to events across the country. 

“One thing that definitely comes out is how much love is shared,” said Elizabeth Rose, who has been the coordinator of the Kerrville event for the last three years. “The guests felt so loved by their buddies and their experience. It’s really about sharing God’s love with those in the community who have special needs. There was also the love being shown by those guests to the volunteers.”

Cross Kingdom Church of Ingram was the main host of the event. 

Tebow’s video presentation brought up a huge cheer from the approximately 200 people in attendance at the Schreiner ballroom. 

For those participating, the night’s crowning moment was just that — a crown. Ashley Mena, a student at Schreiner, was the buddy for Edward Gonzales, who was decked out in a trim black tuxedo and a long green tie with a carnation boutonniere. As Mena placed the crown on Edward’s head, which was done by all of the buddies to their guests for the night, his mother, Kari Andrews, beamed with joy as the crown sat on his head. 

“Ashley has just been amazing,” Andrews said of Mena. 

The Night To Shine for Kerrville is organized by Rose and Julie Ottaway, along with Pee Jay Smith. There were 250 volunteers who helped with the event, Rose said. 

The evening was filled with activities from getting hair and makeup done before the gala, to dinner to making sure shoes were shined before hitting the dance floor. There was also a lot of picture taking, including photo booths for fun-filled instant shots. 

Janet Baker of Merle Norman provided all of the makeup, while Kerrville’s Pop Hair art helped with the styling of the hair. Hill Country Limousine provided two limousines and a party bus to help take the guests to the event. 

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