The Barclay School: Class of 2018

The Barclay School graduates: Ronan Sullivan and Naomi Kurlowich

This week, the Barclay School celebrated the graduation of two of our students. It was a joy filled day, full of hugs and hotdogs!

One of our school traditions has been for the students to make a “Memory” book for the graduates.  They share funny, touching and heartfelt moments with the leaving students, and, despite the intense outdoor heat, tears flowed.

Two wonderful young women graduated from our school this year.  Both have been with us for several years, and it is difficult to think that we won’t be seeing them on a daily basis anymore because they both brought so much to our little community.

One of the young woman is a 21 year old with Downs. When she first came to us, she was reluctant to speak and would curl up in a ball on the couch and pretend she was invisible. One of my favorite memories was when her mom phoned to say that, for the first time in 16 years, her young daughter had actually responded with “I love you, too, Mom.”  She discovered a love of music and was always the first to dance, arms swirling, eyes closed. The students all wrote that they would miss her smile. Several wrote that she was their first and enduring friend.

The other young woman was an avid reader. She read two or three books simultaneously and would bring them in to share with the other students. She taught the students that it was “cool” to be smart. A gifted writer, she was able to take classes early at Midlands Tech, where she now plans to study Early Childhood Education. The students wrote that she was their role model and big sister, always inclusive and never judgmental.

When it was all over and I sipped a quiet cup of tea, I found myself reflecting upon the close of the first year of our school in our new Cook Road location. So many memories filled with so much love and gratitude and how lucky am I to have spent the last ten years in the company of these wonderful, creative, caring and kind individuals.

Gillian C. Barclay-Smith

Head, The Barclay School

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