SHS Gabby Materas Brings Joy of Dance to Special Needs Students


As a natural born performer, Gabby Materas knows how much joy can be found in music and dance. During the summer leading into her senior year of high school, she had an idea to bring that joy to a group of special needs students at Syosset High School through a program she initiated named “Dancing Days”. Volunteering her time every other day, Gabby not only taught the students a dance routine, but provided them an opportunity to be active and share their love of music. The students were empowered to be involved participants in the program, choosing their own music and collaborating on the dance moves.

According to the Director of PPS Mary-Lou Sapienza, Gabby is “so well-rounded, so sweet, so caring. She lights up any room when she walks in”. Ending each session with a group hug, Gabby has made a personal connection with every student in the program. Gabby was inspired by her special needs brother and his love of music, and says that leading this program has made her feel good about herself and given her a sense of accomplishment. “It was one of the best experiences of my life” states Gabby.

Gabby will be attending High Point University in the fall. She will miss the students very much, and hopes that the impact she made on the students will have a lasting effect.