YORKTOWN, N.Y. – It was a graduation like no other, where the accomplishments of students were measured by mastering an every day task or the genuine joy they brought to others.
Family, friends and staff last week celebrated four students for reaching many milestones during their years at Pines Bridge, a school for individuals with multiple disabilities on the Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES campus in Yorktown.
The school serves students ages 5 to 21 using specialized programs that emphasize communication, mobility and independence.
"It shows the great strides my son has made," said Denise Lombardo, mom of graduate Danny Fortuniewicz of Yonkers.
A video of each student was shown at the ceremony, triggering laughter and tears. Principal Judy Spaulding, who is retiring, praised each graduate for their special gifts.
Spaulding singled out Fortuniewicz for "always being the first to volunteer for any job that needed to be done." She pointed to Jonathan Robinson of Peekskill for his ability to "lift the blues away" with his friendly smile and concern for others.
Meanwhile, Spaulding cited Jack Purcell of Pleasantville for his love of music and participation in the Chappaqua Volunteer Fire Department and called Greenburgh's Michelle Alvarez "a terrific conversationalist and an independent, determined young woman."