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Glenholme Grads Receive Real Diplomas



WASHINGTON, Conn. - When Zack Rosenberg stood in his blue cap and gown on Wednesday, a member of the three-person Devereux Glenholme School Class of 2006, he had never been so proud. Rosenberg has Tourette's syndrome, a neurological condition that results in involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics.

When he arrived at Glenholme a year ago, he said, he couldn't control the tics. He felt ashamed because people laughed at him, and he believed he would never be accepted in the "real world." But in his year at Glenholme, that all changed. "It felt truly phenomenal," he said from his home in Agoura Hills, Calif. "To finally be a senior and be part of such a great community and school is truly to feel special."

Rosenberg, 17, was one of three boys to graduate from Glenholme Wednesday at the school's first diploma ceremony since it was accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges last year. The Glenholme School is a special-needs boarding school for children 8 to 18 who don't succeed in the traditional public or private school. It's one of about 20 treatment facilities around the country operated by The Devereux Foundation and currently has about 100 students.

But the new accreditation means the therapeutic school has the same diploma-granting privileges as any other school in the state, and students can transfer credits from Glenholme to more traditional schools. In the past, students would have to get diplomas from their local education agencies. "It's something that we're obviously very proud of having, that the quality of our academic program is recognized," said Maryann Campbell, executive administrator. "Kids can be placed here and know that they can graduate from us and receive a diploma."

Last year, when the accreditation was pending, the school had one graduate. This year, there were three. Thirteen other students also participated in Wednesdays ceremony because they were moving on to other schools.

"It was our first time having the power of giving transcripts and diplomas," said Gary Fitzherbert, executive director of Glenholme. For the last few weeks, Rosenberg said, class President Nicholas Aldini announced "Graduating Class of 2006" every time he passed Rosenberg. The two would giggle about it.

"I was pretty happy. I was excited," said Aldini, 18, of Westchester, N.Y., who attended Glenholme for three years and will study at the Culinary Institute of America next year.

Rosenberg said when he arrived at Glenholme last fall, he never expected to graduate so soon. He quickly got involved in equestrian activities and community service and became the manager of the basketball team - extra curricular activities for which he received an award at graduation.

He's going to stay at Glenholme for another semester to take a required course on California history and work in the cafeteria before heading to college. He hopes to work in the hospitality industry, possibly in hotel management.

"What the school did for me is truly the best thing that has ever happened in my life," he said. "They've helped me grow so much, they've helped me mature."

"A whole new world's opened up for me and I'm ready to grasp it and take hold of it," he added. "Wow, I'm going to college soon. It's amazing."

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