OSSINING, N.Y. -- Once a week, the patrons at Turco's in Yorktown Heights are treated to friendly waves from Katelyn Love.
In her final year at the Pines Bridge Transitions program of Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES for students with developmental challenges, Love has made great strides in communicating, grocery shopping for others in the program and developing her cooking skills.
For that progress, she was named a Student of Distinction at the school board's meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, in Ossining, her home district.
"Katelyn is graduating this year from our Transitions program," Shelley Fleischmann, director of special education for PNW BOCES, told the Ossining Board of Education and audience at the meeting in the Ossining High School library.
Love began at the Pines Bridge Transition Program in 2007.
"She goes out to the community two times a week and she is working on skills to make her more independent," Fleischmann continued.
"She goes to Turco's in Yorktown and BJs, and she shops for the Pines Bridge program. She's working on cooking skills and being social, and right now she has come a long way in using her iPad to communicate."
At Turco's, she locates food items based on photos, said her teacher, Andrea Vezos.
"This year, as a member of the Transition program, Katelyn has shown consistent growth in her social and communication skills," Vezos wrote, in describing Love's progress. "She has been seen waving to neighbors while out in the community."
Her parents, Peter and Debbie Love, said she likes to watch people, and that she enjoyed the attention from the school board and audience, which applauded when she received the honor.
"It’s exciting for her," Debbie Love said.
They said she has been learning skills around the home -- and that she waves everywhere now. "When she leaves any place, she waves to everybody," Peter Love said.
PNW BOCES Superintendent Dr. James Ryan thanked the Ossining board for joining in recognizing Love: "The opportunity to be recognized by her own school is not lost on her, and it's not lost on us," Ryan said. "Thanks so much for taking the time to host us and for recognizing your own student, Katelyn Love."
Ossining Superintendent Raymond Sanchez also wished the honoree well. "I know that you will continue to be very successful as you move on," he said.