Marshall Street, Job Development grads already ahead of life's challenges

May 20, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE
  • Marshall Steet School teacher Wendy Wolfrey gives Andy Robinson a special-effort award Thursday during Marshall Street School and Washington County Job Development Program graduation ceremonies held at HCC.
By Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

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    HAGERSTOWN -- Marshall Street School and Washington County Job Development Program should have its named changed to Hogwarts, the magical school from Harry Potter fame, School Board President Wayne D. Ridenour told the audience at Thursday morning's graduation ceremony.

    That's because every day at those programs, magic happens, Ridenour said.

    Nineteen students graduated Thursday from Marshall Street School and the Job Development Program, Principal Gael Butcher said. The two programs serve students with developmental, intellectual or learning disabilities, autism or orthopedic impairment, she said.

    Of the graduates, 14 graduated from the Job Development Program and five from Marshall Street School. The graduates received a Maryland certificate of program completion, which is the special education equivalent of a diploma, Butcher said.

    Thursday's ceremony at Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Theater was full of laughter and unscripted moments such as a graduate saying hi to mom in the audience or unexpectedly walking up to the lectern. About 200 people attended the graduation ceremony for students from the school, which is in Hagerstown's West End.


Commencement speaker Michael H. Parsons, a professor of social science and education at HCC, said the graduates had already bested some of life's challenges.

"Yes, life would be easier without challenges," Parsons said. "But, in a world without hurdles, there would be no champions. Without battles, we would experience no victories, and without rain, how would we enjoy rainbows?"

"Thank you for coming to our graduation," said graduate speaker Beth Parchment, 21, of Hagerstown. "We want to thank everyone who helped us be successful at the Job Development Program."

Several of the graduates received awards, including awards related to their participation in a transition program that helped prepare them for adult life. Through the program, students worked on or off HCC's campus, Butcher said.

Graduate Heather Taddei, 21, of Hagerstown, gave welcoming remarks, and graduate Happi Cryer, 21, of Hagerstown, gave the farewell address.

"It was absolutely a blessing for all of them, and I'm glad to be here," said Fabrione Donyeau, Cryer's aunt.

"She's going to do well in life as she goes forward," Donyeau said.

Hagerstown resident Mary Webb said her son, Michael Brown, did a wonderful job in school.

Michael's father agreed.

"I'm very, very proud of him. He's had his ups and downs over the years, but he stuck with it," said Gary Brown, of Martinsburg, W.Va.

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