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'Always continue to strive to be the best you can'

Marshall Street School, Job Development Program celebrates graduates' accomplishments

May 24, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Clayton M. Wilcox gets a hug from graduate Kayla Marie Pierce at the commencement ceremony for the Class of 2012 of Marshall Street School and the Job Development Program.
By Yvette May, Staff Photographer

“Good. Happy. Excited.”

That’s what Zach Sherman said he was feeling after a graduation ceremony Thursday morning for students in Marshall Street School and the Job Development Program.

That appeared to be a sentiment shared by several other graduates, while parents were proud of their children’s accomplishments.

Fifteen of the 17 graduates from the school completed the Job Development Program, while two students graduated from Marshall Street School, Principal Gael Butcher said. Sixteen graduates attended the ceremony.

Both programs, which serve students with developmental, intellectual or learning disabilities, autism or orthopedic impairment, are based at Marshall Street School in Hagerstown’s West End.

The students who graduated Thursday earned Maryland certificates of program completion, Butcher said.

“Seeing growth, it’s a positive thing. It’s watching him grow into a good, strong, healthy individual,” said Sherman’s mother, Karen Holder.

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Sherman, 21, plans to study horticulture at Hagerstown Community College. He did some horticulture work for the town of Smithsburg as part of the Job Development Program.

Hagerstown resident Wilma Pierce said she was feeling “very happy and proud and very excited” for her daughter, Kayla, who graduated.

School officials introduced each graduate and, for many of them, listed the jobs they’ve had during their school career.

Students in the Job Development Program have worked for parks, local churches and restaurants, the Salvation Army, Cavetown Ace Home Center, Consign Design and others.

Eric Kauffman, 21, of Hagerstown said he is transferring to an adult all-day program the Washington County Human Development Council provides that will give him an opportunity to continue doing some of the jobs, such as cooking, that he did through the Job Development Program.

“My dream job is to be a head chef at some restaurant,” Kauffman said.

Kauffman said he prepared his specialty, a beef pasta casserole, for Washington County Technical High School students.

“They loved it, and they want some more of it,” he said.

Four job development students, including Sherman and Kauffman, spoke during the graduation ceremony, which was held at Hagerstown Community College’s Kepler Theater.

Kwame Gramling said he wanted to work full time and continue playing basketball for Special Olympics.

Marva Davis, area director for Washington County Special Olympics and a retired special education teacher who used to work at Marshall Street School, gave the commencement address.

Davis told the graduates that “no matter the course you take, always continue to strive to be the best you can.”

Douglas DeMarco received rousing applause when he welcomed the audience to the ceremony and, on behalf of the graduates, thanked teachers, friends and family for supporting them.

“After graduation, we’re going to put these skills to good use. With all the training we have had, we had a chance to become extraordinary workers,” Kauffman said as he gave the ceremony’s farewell address.

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