Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Very special

On Saturday, two very special young men will graduate from high school. These guys came to the US from the Chernobyl area of the Ukraine years ago. They have an older brother who has a family and a younger sister. The sister is mildly mentally handicapped; the two graduates are considered to be Trainable Mentally Impaired.

When they first came to the high school five years ago, the boys spoke very little English and were very timid. The following year they had a different teacher who really brought out their personalities. He joked with them, took them all over the city, taught them coping skills. The boys would go through the halls smiling and laughing, saying hello to everyone they met.

They'd rattle off the names of football players, other schools, local radio announcers, anything that caught their attention. They have remarkable memories, considering that they have the mental and emotional maturity of 3-year-olds.

This school is incredibly supportive of this class of students. They're always willing to stop and talk to the 5 students in the class, help any way they can.

And now the boys are graduating (with an attendance certificate) and will go on with their lives. They're scheduled to attend a new program next year that's based at the local community college, but their mom isn't certain it's the best thing for them. Their class here will disband on Friday. The "numbers" are too low to keep a full-time teacher and assistant on salary for two kids, one of whom is better suited for the Educable Mentally Handicapped class we have, so the four kids (including our two favorites) are moving to the community college.

Vlad and Victor will be missed here, but we have to think of what's best for them, not how much we're going to miss them. That's a hard thing to do.


Antevasin said...

Is it the belief that the reason three kids from the same family are mentally impaired is because of the Chernobyl incident? I'm sure Vlad and Victor will be missed!

rita said...

The two boys, definitely; the girl, possibly, but she wasn't categorized correctly and didn't get the classes she should have. We're working on that for next year! She has more potential than some have realized.

Those two young men have really brightened that place with their smiles and shouts of "you yayhoos!"

Knit and fall back in it said...

Best of luck to them. I know it's not easy to say goodbye.

Eclectic_VT said...

What a neat story.. :-)

rita said...

Special Ed has a lot of rewards. A lot of pain, too, but lots of good memories. And it never fails to remind me just how fortunate I am that my kids are "normal".