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Class of 2024 shines bright at Kennedy School

May 23, 2024

Students celebrate achievements in heartfelt graduation ceremony

In a heartwarming ceremony filled with pride, joy and hope for the future, 10 students from the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. School for Exceptional Children donned their red caps and gowns and graduated May 22.

The graduation ceremony, a symbol of resilience and achievement, marked a significant milestone in the lives of these exceptional individuals and their families. With beaming smiles and a sense of accomplishment, the graduates took turns expressing their gratitude to their dedicated teachers and supportive parents for their unwavering encouragement and guidance throughout their educational journey.

“Thank you to my family for always being there,” said graduate Amari M. “I’ve come a long way…. The best is yet to come.”

“I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life,” added fellow graduate Enique G.

Principal Dawn Angelini thanked parents and guardians for their support and expressed pride in the graduates’ accomplishments.

“It is with great respect and gratitude that the staff at the Kennedy School say ‘thank you’ to our students’ families and friends for sharing their children with us,” said Angelini. “We will be sad to see our students go but are thankful that they have dedicated people in their lives to support each one in the next step of their journey. Thank you all for being a part of the St. Coletta’s family.”

Among those attending the ceremony were several Kennedy School teachers and administrators as well as St. Coletta’s of Illinois CEO Heather Benedick and Thornton Township High School District 205 Executive Director of Pupil Personnel Services Thomas Porter.

Kennedy School, a therapeutic day school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, works with several school districts throughout the south and southwest suburbs, including District 205, Thornton Fractional District 215, Plainfield CCSD 202, Crete Monee District 201-U, Consolidated High School District 230 and Flossmoor District 161.

The school, which falls under the umbrella of St. Coletta’s of Illinois, is committed to providing quality education and support to students with developmental disabilities, empowering them to achieve their full potential and lead fulfilling lives.

“We are very proud of our graduates,” said Angelini, who attributing their success to the assistance of others.

“This day was made possible through the support of many,” she added.

Graduates expressed a mix of pride, sadness, happiness and joy as they gathered for photos and refreshments after the ceremony.

“I can’t believe graduation day has come,” said Aaron B. “With the support of my teachers, I am ready to move on.”

“It’s bittersweet for me,” added Jakobe M. “I’m sad to leave but I’m happy to reach my goal.”

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