SWBOCES students move up at final Pocantico Hills ceremony

The Moving Up Ceremony for students in Southern Westchester BOCES’s Special Services programs at Pocantico Hills School was a bit more final than usual.

Programs here will move in the new school year to other SWBOCES locations or to programs in students’ home districts. In all, eight students received completion certificates while seven others were honored as they moved up and on to new challenges.

Principal Alberta Grant-Johnson spoke of students she had gotten to know since joining the program over the winter, students with a great sense of humor, diverse interests and natural curiosity. “I’ve also seen students develop friendships that have been sustained over time,” she said. 

They learned autonomy here, she added, describing how students learned to navigate the school building. Their independence has been encouraged, she said, which will serve them in their future education. 

“I really appreciate how involved this school community is in ensuring students’ growth, both academically and emotionally,” Ms. Grant-Johnson said.

Teachers spoke glowingly of the students they had come to know so well. One of them, Shane Schwartz, read a rhyming tribute to each of his fifth graders, while another, Nathalie Del Vecchio-Molina, reflected on her students as well.

“I am so proud of this group of students because they have been through a lot in the past few years,” Ms. Del Vecchio-Molina said. They and their parents worked hard, she said, and they figured things out and moved forward.

“See the roses in the thorns, and don’t forget to include us in your future celebrations,” she added.