Learning Center graduates earn diplomas

June 01, 2005|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Eight graduates in green gowns crossed the stage at Franklin Learning Center to receive their diplomas Tuesday afternoon before an auditorium full of their parents, grandparents, friends and relatives.

Teresa Reed, Emily Myers, Lisa Kintzel, Samantha Jones, Casey Fogle, Timothy Edwards, Travis Briggs and Mark Adams received recognition for completing their education at the school for students with special educational needs.

Graduate Emily Myers led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Speaker Roger Klink, diversified occupations coordinator for Lincoln Intermediate Unit #12, helped to prepare seven of the eight graduates for the transition from school to the adult world.


"The key to success was the effort of a team," Klink said. "The student, the parents and the school worked together to make the student as independent as possible. Each has his or her own abilities and personalities. Each is unique."

Klink showed slides of each graduate participating in various activities and spoke about their strengths.

Diplomas were presented by Warren Risk, special education director at the LIU in New Oxford, Pa.

The school chorus performed two songs, also playing chimes to accompany "All of One Heart." Some of the chorus members sing, while others sign.

Teresa Reed, 20, said she was "very happy" to graduate. Her father, Stephen Reed, said he is excited about Teresa's graduation, and that the school was "a real good place for her. She learned a lot." Teresa has been offered a paid position at Mercersburg Academy.

Emily Myers, 21, "has a slight physical disability, but has never used that as an excuse not to do a task," Klink said. Besides her diploma, Emily also received a Red Cross Level 2 Swimming Certificate.

"I'm a little scared and a little bit happy," Emily said after the ceremony.

She plans to go to camp and to Special Olympics before starting work at Occupational Services Inc. in July. Her parents, Cathy Layton and Steve Myers, came to see her graduate.

Lisa Kintzel, 21, works in preschool classes at the center, helping to set up for circle time. Known for her smile and cheery attitude, Lisa said she feels good about graduating. Her parents, Carol and Gerald Kintzel, attended the ceremony.

Timothy Edwards, 20, worked at Schrieber Foods of Shippensburg, Pa., with many of his classmates as part of their training. His mother, Pam Edwards, said she is excited for him, but also scared. He spent most of his educational years at the learning center, and "it was the best choice we've made for him. He has come a long way. His teacher is fantastic."

Timothy is in vocational training and will work as a dishwasher with a neighborhood ministry at First United Methodist Church in Chambersburg for the summer. His parents, two grandmothers, brother, uncles, aunts and cousins celebrated with him.

Travis Briggs, 19, is "very motivated," Klink said. He has volunteered at Penn Hall, Capitol Theatre and The Salvation Army, as did many of the graduates, then moved to a paid position at Schrieber Foods.

"He's on the go constantly," said his mother, Pam Briggs. "He's a hard worker. Besides his job, he mows lawns for others."

Diane Kennedy taught three of the graduates in her Life Skills class.

"They're the best," she said. "I'll miss them."

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