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Jessica: An Incredible Story of Perseverance and Achievement

Washington, CT

Devereux Glenholme Articles
The sweet feeling of success
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A full six months ahead of plan Jessica received her Glenholme diploma from Executive Director Maryann Campbell and Dean of Education Sharon Murphy in front of an emotional audience on Friday, December 16, 2011.
Iron Chef
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Jessica, along with Andrew and Matt, enjoyed Iron Chef, a popular culinary course offered during the summer.
Preparing for college
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In December 2010, Jessica practiced for the SATs with the Princeton Review test preparation program.
Best Director
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At the August 2011 premier of "Camp Columbia," a film by the Glenholme Movie Club, Jessica received the award for best director. Jessica's close friend, Jahkai, helped display the award.
Cancer Fundraiser
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In the fall of 2011, the Glenholme girls including Jessica, Maggie, Annabel, and Brittany, delivered a successful, high-energy fundraiser for the Susan G. Kolman Foundation.
Washington, CT - Within The Glenholme School's positive, supportive environment, young men and women accomplish truly incredible things. This December, one Glenholme student earned a high school diploma against all odds - a remarkable personal achievement certainly worth celebrating!

Jessica, who has significant learning difficulties, attended a very large high school in Bermuda with few special education services. Embarrassed, frustrated and often defeated by her learning differences, Jessica refused to attend school. Seeing little chance for improvement, Jessica’s family withdrew her from school in September of 2007, and attempted to tutor her at home. However, by the time she was 17 years old, Jessica was already two years behind in credits.

With With the help of Bermuda, Jessica enrolled at The Glenholme School in June of 2009. Jessica’s initial adjustment period was difficult - she found it hard to be far from home and was frustrated and extremely overwhelmed by the school's academic workload and high expectations. She was reluctant to trust teachers and staff and would often refuse to attempt tasks in both the academic and residential programs. Although she presented as oppositional, overtime Jessica was able to develop strong, trusting relationships through the many positive motivational supports at Glenholme. These relationships allowed her to be more receptive to learning and taking risks, and she became a more confident student.

With this increased motivation and drive, Jessica continued to make significant academic gains and became an active participant in countless extracurricular activities, including community service, the athletics program, Student Leadership, the culinary program, Movie Club, theater productions, and the school chorus and dance teams. She made the Glenholme Honor Roll multiple times, and in December of 2009 - only six months after arriving at Glenholme - was honored as Student of the Month for her improved and consistent academic effort.

In September 2011, as Jessica began her final semester at Glenholme, funding for her education was to be discontinued due to difficult economic conditions in Bermuda. The Glenholme Executive Director recognized the risk this young lady faced in her home country without a high school diploma, and sought out and secured a scholarship through the Devereux Foundation. By doing so, she afforded Jessica the opportunity to remain at the school and work toward a December graduation. During this time, Jessica was invited to participate in the school’s post-secondary program, where she job-shadowed a CNA at the Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center and began to shape her plans for the future.

On Friday, December 16, 2011, Jessica received her Glenholme diploma in front of an emotional audience of friends, supporters, and mentors during the school's annual holiday concert. Jessica performed the song “Temporary Home” with one of her close friends to commemorate the occasion. Jessica chose this song to express that Glenhome had become her home away from home and that the Glenhome community had become her second family. As the two young ladies sang, a slide show of Jessica’s favorite pictures played on the projector screen beside them. The next day, Jessica departed for her home country, where she plans to attend college and pursue a career in nursing.

Jessica’s mother expressed her gratitude with these words, “In all honesty, I really don’t know how to express my appreciation for what you have done for my daughter … Jessica would not have been able to graduate from high school in Bermuda. Not only have you made it possible for her to accomplish that, but you have also given Jessica a sense of who “she” is!”

When asked about her experience at Glenholme, Jessica answered, "With the learning disability that I have, the support that you get here is really amazing." She continued, "I will be keeping in contact with my friends here. I have made life-long friends."

Congratulations, Jessica, on this incredible accomplishment!

The Glenholme School is a therapeutic boarding school for young people diagnosed with Asperger's, ADHD, PDD, OCD, Tourette's, depression, anxiety and variouslearning differences. The program provides a treatment milieu designed to build competence socially and academically. Our learning environment supports and enhances the ability for young people with special needs to succeed. For more information about The Glenholme School and its program, visit http://www.theglenholmeschool.org/. Devereux Connecticut.
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