Devereux youth shares moving graduation speech
Justinee Rafter told the Devereux admissions team she was not interested in her education.
But thanks to a team of compassionate and caring clinicians, teachers and staff at the Devereux Pennsylvania – Children’s Behavioral Health Services center, three years later – something changed. This summer, Justinee graduated from the Devereux Day School in Malvern, Pa.
Look below to read Justinee’s inspirational speech she shared during her graduation ceremony.
Whenever I told people what school I went to, their faces would change, or they would say, "Oh I've heard of that school," and I would immediately regret telling them.
Let's be honest, Devereux has a reputation of where the "bad kids go," but what they don't know about this school is the staff, and how much they invest, care for and mold their students to be nothing but the best they could possibly be – and to flourish when they leave these halls.
This school has helped me in many, many ways.
When my mom died, it was – and still is – one of the worst things I've ever experienced. For something, someone, so vital to a young woman to be gone, and to only exist in her memories, is hard. The day I said goodbye to my mom, I wasn't alone. I had friends, family and my Devereux family there to help me get through that day. It was the worst day of my life, and Devereux didn't have to help me, but they did because they really care about their students.
Even though they (Devereux) don't say it, I'm pretty sure they love us, well, a select few, at least. My mom and dad always told me that actions speak louder than words, and Devereux’s actions spoke to me that day. After that, I never regretted telling anyone what school I went to, even though sometimes, I say/joke, "I hate this school" … but I don't.
I've learned to appreciate this school and love the people who are in it.
When I leave here, it's going to be hard to not be surrounded by such strong, funny, amazing, loving women every day.
But I'm onto the next chapter of my life, and all I can say now is: Peace out Devereux. It's been real."
About Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health is one of the largest and most advanced behavioral healthcare organizations in the country. We serve as a national nonprofit partner for individuals, families, schools and communities, serving many of the most vulnerable members of our society in areas of autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, specialty mental health, and foster care.
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