Moultrie Middle School special education teacher Dana Bowen frequently provides opportunities for middle school students to make friends with special needs students.

She calls this diverse group of students her “lunch bunch.”

They recently traveled to MUSC Children’s Hospital to take advantage of a specially designed theater that allows all children to enjoy a show without the confines of a typical facility. For some, it was their first experience at a movie theater.

The idea began when Luke McCurry, a student in a general education class who is confined to a wheelchair, shared that he never gets to sit where he wants at the movies. He always has to sit in a special section that is usually in the rear or very front row.

Through the grapevine, Russ Pritchard, president of Audio Warehouse who created the theater, heard about Luke’s insight as well as Bowen’s lunch bunch and knew the perfect field trip for all of the students to have some typical teenage fun.

Forty students, about half with special needs and half general education, and 10 adults viewed the showing of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”

The students, teachers, parent chaperons and staff of Audio Warehouse called the experience one of the most successful trips ever.

“This type of use is a perfect match to our vision for this project. Seeing some of these children enjoy a true movie experience for the first time is an amazing reminder of what so many of us take for granted,” said Pritchard.

After the movie, Sara Stello from the MUSC Transplant Center and Papa John’s provided pizza.