Pines Bridge Graduates Eight Students

 

How do you measure success in a class of graduating students? For the graduates of the Pines Bridge School at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES, success can be measured in the practical, everyday skills they have mastered, the relationships they have formed and the joy they have shared with classmates, teachers, family and friends.

Eight students graduated from Pines Bridge Friday. After making their way down the aisle, the graduates took their places on the dais with Principal Csilla Mate. Robert Kelderhouse, who retired as principal of Pines Bridge in January, addressed the students after greeting each of them individually.

“The Pines Bridge graduates have had many, many challenges that most of us will never understand,” he said, adding that they have reached this point in their lives thanks to the love and commitment of their parents, the support of their teachers and their own hard work. “Now, they are ready to embark on the next steps in life.”

All seven participating graduates were given a chance to shine, either by speaking to the assembly or being spoken about by a teacher.

Christopher Quimby was called “a scientist at heart, a news reporter during Thursday New-2-You groups, a mathematician and an avid reading companion” and “all around academic student.” Noah Krantz called his classmates “awesome” and thanked his parents and siblings for “being with me through everything.” Anthony Cashman noted his work sites at Pepsi, Turcos and Once Upon a Child, thanked his family and said he would miss his teachers.

Tristan Kirby was lauded as the “class clown” for bringing laughter, humor and joy to the school day. Tristan loves music and roughhousing and has a special bond with Aloha, the therapy dog. Crystal Russ said she had enjoyed her years at BOCES and liked working at TJ Maxx, Sears and the library. She thanked her parents and family for their love and support. Katelyn Townson said she had learned many skills at Pines Bridge, had enjoyed working in the community and appreciated the love and encouragement of her parents and grandparents. Andrew Beale thanked his family “for helping me to be the best I could be.”

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 “sang” the song, Hold on Forever, by Rob Thomas using sign language.

The graduates and their home school districts are:

  • Andrew Beale, Arlington
  • Anthony Cashman, Lakeland
  • Tristan Kirby, Putnam Valley
  • Noah Krantz, Somers
  • Ruby Rose Mongil, Pine Plains
  • Christopher Quimby, Pleasantville
  • Crystal Russ, Yorktown

 

The Pines Bridge School serves students ages 5 to 21, using specialized programs that emphasize communication, mobility and independence.