MAYS LANDING _ Forty students were celebrated for their accomplishments at the annual commencement at the Atlantic County Special Services School Friday.
Leah Callahan of Hamilton Township, who received the Atlantic County Academic Excellence Award for her school, talked about all she had learned, including job skills working in the school cafe and interning at a day care center.
“Lots and lots of energy is needed daily,” she said. “I had great mentors.”
School principal Eric Flecken said it had been a pleasure watching her grow from a shy child into a confident young woman.
Graduate achievement awards were awarded to Robert Camp cq and Michael Hyde both of Egg Harbor Township, who have already begun working at jobs they trained for while at the school.
James Foreman presented the “Unsung Hero” award to student Dante Green. The award is memory of his nephew, Vern Gunn, and Foreman said he wished everyone at the school could receive it.
“This is a school of unsung heroes.” he said. “I have come to graduations since the 1970s and I know how much work, effort and love the staff puts into this school.”
Student Olga Lopez of Buena received the School to Career Community Program Excellence Award and Richard Stockton College received the Community Partners Award for hosting students at job training sites on campus.
Students Timothy Farrell, Lynamesha Cheatham and Nathalene Kromah lit the traditional candles representing the past, present and future. Farrell and Cheatham also thanked family, friends and the staff at the school for making their time there memorable.
The Education Foundation presented a gift card to every graduate, and the program ended with the traditional slide show of the graduates as babies, children, and proud graduates.