Graduation Day at Archbishop Damiano School

Graduation Day at Archbishop Damiano School
Pictured from left are Joseph Driscoll, Cheryl Ellingsworth, James Wood, Amanda Dyer, Adam Kelly and Tricia Flynn. Photos by Alan M. Dumoff, ccdphotolibrary.smugmug.com

Pictured from left are Joseph Driscoll, Cheryl Ellingsworth, James Wood, Amanda Dyer, Adam Kelly and Tricia Flynn.
Photos by Alan M. Dumoff, ccdphotolibrary.smugmug.com

Tricia Flynn holds her diploma during commencement exercises at Archbishop Damiano School, Westville Grove, on June 14. This year six students graduated from the school that educates children with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities.

Tricia Flynn holds her diploma during commencement exercises at Archbishop Damiano School, Westville Grove, on June 14. This year six students graduated from the school that educates children with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities.

As commencement speeches go, James Woods summed up the bittersweet and complex feelings of graduates throughout the country in two concise sentences.

“I loved school and will miss you very much,” he said, and then added, “I’m outta here!”

James and five other students graduated from Archbishop Damiano School, Westville Grove, this year on June 14.

Joe Driscoll, Amanda Dyer, Cheryl Ellingsworth, Tricia Flynn, Adam Kelly and Jimmy dedicated this year’s ceremony to all of the parents, relatives, friends, and teachers for their love and support throughout the years.

With the assistance of teacher Jackie Rolletter, the class of 2016 compiled a video for graduation to express their gratitude to all those who pushed them to succeed throughout the years.

In addition, each student gave a speech during the ceremony, reminiscing about their time spent at Archbishop Damiano School and their plans for the future. Following remarks by secondary supervisor Scott Salmonsen, ADS principal Kate Flynn and ADS assistant principal Greg Zink, students were presented with their diplomas and treated to a Power Point presentation of their photos throughout the years.

Archbishop Damiano School services over 160 students, with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities. Students are referred from over 50 different school districts throughout central and southern New Jersey. Educational programming is divided into three broad levels: Early Childhood Program, Elementary and Middle School, and Secondary Program.

The school had its beginnings in 1965 — a full decade before passage of the Education of All Handicapped Children Act — when Archbishop Celestine J. Damiano invited five Hospitaller Brothers from Ireland to found a school for children with Down Syndrome.

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