SHERWOOD, Ore. — School bus drivers here hosted an annual themed party for the special-needs students they transport and their families in May, Sherwood Gazette reports.

Drivers and school district transportation office workers at Sherwood School District have thrown the annual party for the past 11 years, Sue Caldwell, a bus driver for the district, told the newspaper. Each party has a theme, and this year it had a zoo theme. A total of 55 special-needs students, plus some siblings and parents, participated in the event, Sherwood Gazette reports.

To raise money for the party every year, the bus drivers and other transportation department employees host a raffle and ask for donations for the prizes and goody bags given to the students, according to the newspaper. A tent, the food and drinks, craft supplies and an appearance by the "Oregon Reptile Man" were all donated by local businesses.

Michelé Barner, the mother of three of the special-needs students who attended the party, told Sherwood Gazette that many of the students are unable to participate in school activities or other events, are “often forgotten in the community, but this is an event where they are center stage.”

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