Peers Are Linking Students


Aelise Gagliano

The Starr’s Mill Peers Are Linking Students club is an organization that focuses on encouraging unity between students in special education and their peers. Activities which strengthen these bonds include Special Olympics, the PALS pageant, bowling, skating and movie days.

Spencer Dawson, Features co-Editor


  • Allow students in special education to bond with their peers through extracurricular activities
  • Encourage students in special education to showcase their talents whether it be in fine arts or athletics


  • Over 100 members
  • Annual events include Special Olympics, PALS Pageant and other outings such as skating, bowling, athletic events at the Mill

Sponsors and Officers

  • Sponsors: Cindy Hartpence, Shannon Gagliano, Juliana Wright, Jodi Christensen and Laura Harbin
  • President: Aelise Gagliano
  • Co-Vice Presidents: Jennifer Bradshaw, Kenzie Johnson, Catherine Dorr, and Spencer Dawson

The Peers Are Linking Students club is an organization at the Mill which focuses on promoting unity and friendship between students with disabilities and their peers. In order to accomplish this, the club meets monthly during lunch to plan for annual events such as Special Olympics and the PALS pageant and gathers for extracurricular outings. “Some of the activities we have done this year are bowling, dinners at restaurants, attending drama productions, and breakfasts before school,” PALS sponsor Shannon Gagliano said.

The effects the PALS club has on students who choose to join can be life-changing. “Just recently, I had a former SMHS PALS member, who is at Auburn University now, email me and he said that PALS changed him.  He now wants to start a similar club there,” Gagliano said. “This shows how much all students gain from this club.”

The PALS club provides students in special education an extracurricular activity that combines enjoyment with organized interaction with their peers and allows them to showcase their talents.  “Through structured social activities, students have fun while practicing their social skills.  For kids that struggle socially, it allows them opportunities to practice their social skills while having fun.  For kids that are socially savvy, it allows them to be good role models and teachers.  Both groups gain from this,” Gagliano said. “PALS club is spectacular because it changes people.”