Thomas Marshall and Paul Schaefer Will Transition into Community-Based Programs
After two special-needs students spent 16 years enrolled in Southern Westchester BOCES programs, it was hard for their families, Center for Special Services staff members and the young men themselves to say goodbye.
Thomas Marshall and Paul Schaefer both started with SWBOCES when they were 5. On June 16, the 21-year-olds graduated from the Multiply Disabled Program at Tappan Hill School in Tarrytown.
“We’re very proud of their achievement and we’re proud of the fact that now they’re moving to adult community programs,” Tappan Hill Principal Phyllis Rizzi said during the ceremony. “A special thank you to all the parents for sharing both wonderful boys all these years.”
Beth and George Marshall, Thomas’ parents, said he had a great experience in SWBOCES programs. “BOCES has been fabulous, absolutely fabulous,” Ms. Marshall said. “He loves people.”
Paul’s mother, Cheryl, said he was planning to enter a program at Cerebral Palsy of Westchester. He was scheduled to complete a trial after graduation to see if it fit his needs.
“He loves coming here,” she said of Tappan Hill. “I’m having a problem with him leaving. The staff has known him for so long.”
Angelo Escobar, a teacher aide at Tappan Hill, said he started working with Paul when the student was 10. “He has a beautiful personality. He’s a joy,” Mr. Escobar said.
Some of the highlights of the ceremony included a slideshow with graduates’ pictures set to the tune of “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake, floral arrangements created by teacher Errol Rivera’s class, student Steven Arellano reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and refreshments after the ceremony.
Teachers gave out certificates to middle school students at Tappan Hill who are moving up. They are Tommy Dabinett, Jalen Estevez, Kevin Ganely, Noel Pena, Raul Ponce and Yechezkel “Ari” Seff.