Pines Bridge School Graduates 11 Students


Pictured Above: Alexis Aguiar (left) poses with her brother, Casey, at the Pines Bridge and Transitions Graduation at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES Friday.

Pictured Below: District Superintendent Dr. James Ryan poses with Pines Bridge and Transitions graduate Alec Loten while Pines Bridge Principal Csilla Mate and BOCES Board President Richard Kreps look on.

The Pines Bridge School may have graduated the smallest class of any school in the area but for the parents, siblings, friends and teachers of the graduates, it was the biggest commencement of all.

After making their way down the aisle, the graduates took their places on the dais with Principal Csilla Mate. Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES District Superintendent Dr. James Ryan addressed the students and their guests saying “We are so proud of all of you, so pleased with the progress and the outcomes that have been achieved…There’s nothing like a Pines Bridge graduation.”

All 10 graduates were praised in “Student Spotlights” read by their teachers and given an opportunity to address the audience, some using assistive devices. Teachers recalled Nicholas Marrone’s quiet demeanor and love of reading, how Daniel McCartney took his first steps using a gait trainer, learned to use an iPad and brought his boisterous personality to school each day.

They said Jordan Lathan was an avid reader who could be seen with a book first thing in the morning and loved the Gloria Gaynor song “I Will Survive,” and recalled Joshua Velez’ love of music and singing and Katelyn Love’s sense of humor and persistence. They said Alec Loten will be remembered for his piercing blue eyes and infectious smile.

Many of the students fondly remembered going out into the community as part of their school day. Ara Antreasyan’s favorite place was the John C. Hart Library, while Casey Aguiar enjoyed trips to B.J.’s. Ivan Alvarez thanked his “mom, dad and teachers for always helping” him. Emmanuel Ayewah was described as a “gentle giant who looks like a linebacker but wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

At the start of the ceremony, Joshua Velez, a graduate, and Alexis Aguiar, whose brother, Casey, was graduating, treated the audience to a rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”

Parents and friends celebrated the students for reaching many milestones during their years at Pines Bridge, a school for students with multiple disabilities. A video was shown depicting the students as young children and as they are today. Finally, in a longstanding tradition, the staff at Pines Bridge used sign language to “sing” the Taylor Hicks song, “Do I Make You Proud.”

The graduates are listed here:
Casey Aguiar
Ivan Alvarez
Ara Antreasyan
Emmanuel Ayewah
Nicholas Marrone
Daniel McCartney
Jordan Lathan
Katelyn Love
Alec Loten