Q: What are some things you girls have in common?
Emily S: Singing! Emily and Emily!
Emily M: That’s right. Both of us are named Emily, and we both like to sing. What were we listening to in the car on the way over?
Emily S: Taylor Swift!
Emily M: Yes, we both like Taylor Swift. And we’re both pretty laid-back. Even when we’re not talking, we still enjoy being together
Q: And in what ways are you different?
Emily M: She’s very social, and I’m more of an introvert. Also, I’m not that into fashion, but you like getting dressed up, don’t you, Emily? The Down Syndrome Association is always having dances and proms. She loves going to those. In fact, she’s going to a party tonight. I’m staying in and doing homework. [*laughs*] There’s a difference! She also dances with Company d and is really graceful. I’m definitely not a dancer. Compared to her, I’m pretty clumsy. You should see the dance troupe perform. They’re great.
Emily S: Great dancer!
Q (to Emily S): What do you like best about your friend?
Emily S: Pretty. Beautiful. Nice. Fun. Quiet.
Q (to Emily M): And what do you like best about Emily?
Emily M: She’s really nice and is a good influence on people. She makes me more outgoing. I’ve learned positivity from her too. Sometimes she’ll just say ‘I feel happy’ and I think that’s great. Everybody at school knows Emily. She’s popular and has a lot of friends. She makes people smile.
Emily S: Be kind. Talk to people. Make friends. True friends.
Emily M: How do your true friends make you feel?
Emily S: Happy.
Q: When you’re at home, what do you like to do for fun?
Emily S: Play. Candyland. My phone.
Emily M: She likes playing on her phone. Typical teenager - ha!
Q: Tell me more about Best Buddies at Houston High.
Emily M: We got started about halfway through the year last year. I’m the president of our chapter, and right now I’m in the process of interviewing people who have applied to participate. We should end up with 10 or 11 buddy pairs this year.
Q: How has this experience changed you and others who are in the program?
Emily M: It opens your eyes. Unless you have some sort of connection---like the one I have through my sister---you may not be exposed much to people with disabilities. You can say hi to a person; everybody does that. But when you’re paired with someone one-on-one, it’s easier to see that they’re just people like anyone else. We’re more alike than different. This isn’t community service. This is a person, not a project. Like any other friends, we do fun things together. In fact, we’re going somewhere special after this. Where are we going, Emily?
Emily S: Ice cream!