Devereux’s Glenholme School celebrates its history, focuses on the future
What once was a country estate nestled in the lush, green rolling hills of Washington, Conn., is now Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Connecticut – The Glenholme School, a special needs boarding and day school, thanks to a generous donation more than 50 years ago from the Van Sinderen family.
In 1965, at the urging of her daughter, Jean White Van Sinderen met with Helena Trafford Devereux, special education pioneer and founder of Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health. Traveling from Pennsylvania to the Van Sinderen estate in Connecticut, Miss Devereux shared how she had always hoped to start a school for children with disabilities in New England. Three years later, The Glenholme School opened its doors to students with autism.
At the time, Ms. Van Sinderen, whose husband had passed away, explained her decision to donate her 110-acre estate, “I thought about what I might do with the property. I wanted to do something for children, because children had always been the main interest in my husband’s life. I knew it was something that would please him, and my children agree with me. So, that is why I chose Devereux.”
Building a brighter tomorrow
Today, The Glenholme School serves approximately 80 students in grades 5-12 with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, depression, anxiety and other learning differences. The school provides students from around the world with individualized, evidence-based services and supports to help them succeed academically, socially and emotionally.
In 2019, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal awarded The Glenholme School a certificate of special recognition for excellence in the field of special education. He called the school “a treasure, not only for Connecticut, but for our entire country and beyond.” Read a previous news article on this topic.
"We continue to be deeply appreciative of the amazing gift the Van Sinderen family provided Devereux,” said Glenholme School Executive Director Noah Noyes. “Our daily work in support of children and families is possible – and enhanced by – our beautiful and serene campus. Our entire team in Connecticut strives to embody the values and virtues that were inherent in this generous gift over half a century ago."
A legacy lives on
Each year, The Glenholme School community celebrates Heritage Day on Feb. 28, Ms. Van Sinderen’s birthday. A traditional Glenholme Farm dessert of vanilla ice cream and crispy lace cookies, one of Ms. Van Sinderen’s favorite snacks, is always served in her honor.
“The Van Sinderens were involved in their community and passionate about giving back – and their legacy lives on,” said Glenholme School Director of Admissions David Dunleavy. “Students have the opportunity to participate in a multitude of after-school activities, including performing arts, music, dance and robotics. Our grounds include basketball courts, horse stables, a fitness center, soccer and basketball fields and a nine-hole Frisbee golf course. A track for go-carts also is used for fitness activities such as biking, running and walking. All of this was made possible by a little-known meeting between two remarkable and inspiring women one day 56 years ago in the small town of Washington, Conn.”
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