The Bucks County Intermediate Unit (Bucks IU) was extremely proud to honor and celebrate the 40 graduates of their Class of 2021. This year’s graduating class includes special education students from 10 Bucks County School Districts and the School District of Philadelphia. Family, guardians, and friends of the graduates, along with Bucks IU staff, gathered for the graduation ceremony on Tuesday evening, June 8, 2021 in the auditorium of William Tennent High School in Warminster, PA.
The evening began with a welcome by Dr. Lenny Greaney, Bucks IU Director of Special Education, who was followed by the first student of the evening to have a special role in the ceremony. Graduating senior, Mr. Connor Lafferty representing the School District of Philadelphia, was honored with leading the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance. Dr. Mark Hoffman, Bucks IU Executive Director, then provided the opening remarks.
Always a highlight of the evening are the student keynote speakers. Both of this year’s students represented the Morrisville School District and are long time best friends from the Bucks IU Decisions Program. First to present was Mr. Daniel Sayers who started by noting that he had low expectations for the Bucks IU Decisions program he was to start in 3 years ago. He went on to talk about how wrong he had been and about all the opportunities for work he ended up having through the program. Daniel spoke about the different positions he held, what he learned from them, and how the program helped him enhance his life skills by learning to do things like pay bills and do his taxes. He even took college classes part-time at Bucks County Community College. Daniel is currently happily employed, in a paying position, and is grateful for the bright future the Decisions program was able to help him see and prepare for.
The second student keynote speaker was Mr. Gavin Stricker who spoke about the difficulties this past year presented and how he was determined to not let that deter him from finding opportunities from which he could continue to grow. He encouraged all people with disabilities to not become too attached to only what they know or are familiar with, but to motivate themselves to tackle new challenges and see them as a chance to learn. Gavin mentioned all the things he’s learned in his Bucks IU program from the great jobs he’s been able to get by learning how to write a resume and prepare for an interview, to understanding the importance of workplace etiquette. Gavin ended by saying the most important thing the program provided him with is the knowledge that he is not alone as he begins his journey into adulthood and further independence.
This year’s commencement address was provided by Mr. John D’Angelo, President of the Bucks IU Board of School Directors. He, along with Dr. Hoffman, presented each student with their graduation certificate as Mrs. Dawn Yeselavage, Bucks IU Program Coordinator, recognized and spoke about each graduate. The evening ended with closing remarks by Dr. Mary Agnes DeCicco, Bucks IU Special Education Supervisor.
The Bucks IU is proud of the effort, determination, and resilience of these amazing students. They have worked incredibly hard to reach this important milestone and graduate. Congratulations to all our graduates with our best wishes for a wonderful future!