Teachers and administrators were all smiles as they ushered a caravan of ten high school seniors and ten eighth graders through a creative celebration of their graduation, despite limitations imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today was so very special to us,” said Principal Jackie Jones. “We really wanted to make it as exciting as possible as it was going to be different due to the social distancing guidelines.”
The festivities saw graduates and their families passing through several stations in their cars, receiving gifts and diplomas from staff who cheered them on. At the end of the line, students could take graduation photos with their loved ones.
“The students and their families were so excited and this made my day,” Jones added.
Housed across five day-treatment facilities and hospitals P 23 is a District 75 school, which means it provides specialized instructional support for students with profound disabilities.
Programs include locations at St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital in Bayside, Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks and Elmhurst Hospital. Thursday’s graduation honored students enrolled at the school’s locations at Lifeline Center for Child Development and New York City Children's Center.
Students can struggle with a variety of emotional and mental challenges, and the school collaborates with the state Office of Mental Health in order to accommodate educational and social needs while they receive necessary therapy.
The goal is for students to earn high school diplomas and ensure that they move forward to college career-ready.
“We are proud to be able to offer an opportunity,” said Jones. “We are a small school doing big things for our students and making a difference.”
P 23 will hold a drive-by parade for students at St. Mary’s Children’s on July 7.