WESTVILLE GROVE: — Ron Jaworski said the nine graduating students of Archbishop Damiano School have many abilities that should be nurtured and cultivated.
The former Eagles quarterback was the keynote speaker June 9 during graduation ceremonies at the school, and he urged parents not to give up on their children but to help them develop their unique skills.
Archbishop Damiano School, located on the campus of St. John of God Community Services, is an approved, accredited private special education day school serving students with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities ages 3-21. Services are provided at no cost to families.
Through the Job Sampling program at Archbishop Damiano, students can work in the community to find jobs that suit them. Through this program Jaworski has employed students at the golf courses he owns.
Scott Salmonsen, secondary supervisor for students ages 16-21, said a work program is part of the school’s regular curriculum.
“We follow the typical high school program as with other high schools and we have a high school environment,” he explained, “but since we have our students go until they’re 21, we provide job readiness courses.”
Students can try working at a hair salon, a bowling alley, or convenience store, among other locations, and if they are employed they continue with their jobs after graduation.
But after graduation, Salmonsen said, the school is no longer responsible for them and they continue on their jobs under the supervision of the Division of Developmental Disabilities or, in some cases under the care of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
At St. John of God Community Services, of which Archbishop Damiano is a part, some students in the Sheltered Workshop program work on premises where they are well supervised making items for various businesses or at Action Centers where crafts are made.
The Archbishop Damiano graduating class of 2009 consisted of:
Katie Babnew, Angela Biscoglia, Mark Kelso, Tyrell Knight, Rafael Laracuente, Donald Redrow, Dana Speller, Stephanie Tumolo, Schivaare Williams.