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Yorktown's Alicia Mitchell Named Student Of Distinction

Student of Distinction Alicia Mitchell stands with members of her team at Pines Bridge School, from, occupational therapist Roberta Trotta, Alicia Mitchell, Pines Bridge Principal Bob Kelderhouse and special education teacher Judy Gillet.
Student of Distinction Alicia Mitchell stands with members of her team at Pines Bridge School, from, occupational therapist Roberta Trotta, Alicia Mitchell, Pines Bridge Principal Bob Kelderhouse and special education teacher Judy Gillet. Photo Credit: Contributed

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. -- Alicia Mitchell, a student from the Yorktown Central School District who attends Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES’ Pines Bridge School, was named a Student of Distinction for October and was recognized at a Board of Education meeting at Yorktown Middle School on Monday, Oct. 20.

Mitchell began in the Pines Bridge program in 2003. As a petite 6-year-old, she got the nickname “Peanut” from the school nurse, who attends to her nutritional needs each day. Though Mitchell is a nonverbal and nonambulatory student, over the past 11 years, her personality has blossomed into one that is defined by those who work with her each day as “compassionate” and “warm.” “It’s a huge thing for our students to be able to reach out and offer the level of compassion that Alicia does,” said Judy Gillet, Mitchell’s teacher at Pines Bridge. “It’s easier for others who can talk, but when you have to communicate through your body, it takes a lot of courage and effort. She reads her environment well, and I’m very proud of her.”

Before recognizing Mitchell’s accomplishments with a certificate of recognition and medal, Pines Bridge Principal Bob Kelderhouse spoke to the board about Mitchell’s community involvement, noting she regularly enjoys attending the town’s summer concert series and helps to sell baked goods at the annual Spring Fling fundraiser.

“Alicia epitomizes what it means to overcome the odds,” Kelderhouse said. “Her qualities cannot be measured by test scores and numbers. Her courage and determination bring the best out of her each day. She truly is a student of distinction.”

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