West Chester East High School was converted into a castle last weekend as it hosted the 12th annual Best Buddies Ball, a prom of sorts for members of the organization throughout the Philadelphia region.

Best Buddies is a program that links special-needs students to "peer buddies" they talk to and hang out with throughout the year.

West Chester East's chapter, which was selected as chapter of the year, entertained 500 students from 21 schools in Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey on May 5.

"They all treat it like it's the prom," said Robert McMahon, special-education teacher at East and Best Buddies adviser. "It really is a special evening."

Students stayed late into the evening May 4 to deck out East like a castle. The ball was free to all invited, thanks to donations of money and food from businesses and residents.

- Will Hobson