May 24, 2023
Graduates thank teachers, families for their support
Through laughter and tears of joy, more than a dozen students graduated from the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. School for Exceptional Children on May 23 where they took a moment to thank teachers and parents for their support.
“My future looks bright,” one graduate told friends, family and staff members who had gathered in the school cafeteria for the graduation ceremony – complete with red caps and gowns.
“I am ready for a new challenge,” he added.
“I have had the greatest time being a student of St. Coletta’s,” said another. “I am ready for new challenges…. Life is all about learning and changing. I am ready to take it on.”
“I feel ready to get a job and start a new part of life,” said a third graduate. “Thank you for your help and support.”
The Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy School at St. Coletta’s of Illinois is a therapeutic day school in Tinley Park that serves children with a variety of disabilities, including intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The goal is to allow students to learn in the least restrictive environment available while meeting their safety and individual needs.
On May 23, the school held a graduation ceremony for 14 high school graduates and two eighth-grade graduates.
“We are proud of our graduates,” Principal Dawn Angelini told parents and guardians. “We have learned to love them; we have learned to nurture them; we have learned to push them out of the nest.”
Students said they had mixed emotions about graduating.
“I’m going to miss all my teachers,” said one.
“It is a bittersweet moment,” said another as she paused to wipe away tears. “I feel very special. Now I have abilities to be successful in life.”
A third expressed excitement for what the future holds.
“So many doors have opened up to me,” she said. “I welcome new possibilities.”