"Look what I did," Trevor Kirwan shouted as he waved his diploma in the air.
Trevor, a Haldane student, was one of 24 students from 15 school districts to graduate Thursday from Fox Meadow High School at Putnam Northern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services. Fox Meadow High School serves students with a variety of social, emotional and learning needs who would benefit from a smaller, alternative school setting.
Lisa Kirwan, Trevor’s mom, couldn’t control her excitement at her son’s graduation. She credited Fox Meadow with turning her son’s high school experience around. “He struggled,” she said as tears ran down her cheek. But “he went from Ds and Fs to Bs and As” thanks to attending Fox Meadow.
“I know that in the past 13 years many people said you wouldn’t make it, but you did,” Assistant Superintendent John McCarthy told the graduates. “Now, you know what it takes to be successful and we all have confidence that you have the skills necessary to be successful in your journey ahead.”
Student speaker Lenny Santucci of Peekskill echoed a common sentiment when he said, “I never much liked high school and didn’t plan on finishing.” But then, he came to Fox Meadow. “Without these teachers, I wouldn’t be here.”
Speaking for the parents, Colen Sewing, the mother of Riley Sewing, used the acronym FMHS for Fox Meadow High School to describe what the graduates would take with them. F is for friendship and the people you have met here; M is for memories, both of the people and “remember the lessons you learned when things get tough.” H is for humility, and S is for success. “Focus on your goals and dream big,” she said.
Keyonote Speaker Haldane High School Principal Brian Alm confessed to being “a fan of alternative education.” And said he hoped to make his high school as customized to individuals as possible because “what works for most of us doesn’t work for all of us.” He talked about heroes as people who “channel negative energy into something positive; people who do more with less.” “Are you prepared to be someone’s hero?” he challenged the students.
The following students graduated from Fox Meadow High School:
Jahqueline Ascensio (Tarrytown), James Budrock (Hastings), Joseph DiDonato (Lakeland), Keron Finney (Putnam Valley), Matthew Gower (Lakeland), Drew Gunnison (North Salem), Amanda Hays (Peekskill), Michael Herman (Pawling), Trevor Kirwan (Haldane), Londell Nugent (Bedford), Julia Occhipinti (Harrison), Nicole Ogden (Lakeland), Michael Owoo (North Salem), Dana Patterson (Mt. Vernon), Cristal Rodriguez (Beacon) Leonardo Santucci (Peekskill), Celina Savoca (Mahopac), Christopher See (Lakeland), Christian Trama (Somers), Anthony Turner (Peekskill) and Colin Vogel (Brewster).