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Maplebrook celebrates graduates

AMENIA — The bagpipes droned to signal to the 19 members of the Maplebrook School Class of 2012 that the moment was near. Maplebrook is an international co-educational boarding/day school for young people with learning disabilities who are 11 to 21 years of age. Led into Rossman Hall by their fellow classmates and faculty/staff in academic regalia, the graduates took their place front and center. Madeline Denham, president of the student government, welcomed attendees as Donna Konkolics, head of school/CEO, officiated over the rest of the ceremony. Two sets of students graduated at the commencement ceremony — eight from the school’s high school program and 11 from its CAPS program, which provides collegiate study, vocational training, independent living instruction and academic remediation. Like all of the students at Maplebrook, the student body hails from near and far; as close as Salisbury, Conn., and all over the world. This graduating class represented five different foreign countries, also New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Iowa, South Carolina, Florida, Massachusetts and Virginia. Harold Koplewicz is the founder of the New York University Child Study Center and established the Child Mind Institute in 2009. As commencement speaker, he spoke about his heroes. “The courage of people like yourselves who must live with differences and other greater challenges than the rest of us is not only the courage to succeed it’s also the courage to bounce back— to enjoy life, despite those challenges,” Koplewicz said, “So all of you are my heroes.” In attendance were several of the Maplebrook Board of Trustees and Foundation directors. Trustees George T. Whalen Jr., Roger Fazzone, Robert Audia and Rocky Ducillo assisted in making scholarship presentations to students while Mark J. Metzger, board chairman, presented the citizenship award. Other significant awards were presented by the head of school and academic dean. Special recognition was given to the Society of Honor members, faculty/staff and parents.The Community Appreciation Award was presented by CAPS Director F. Michael Enzinna to Thomas and Madeleine Duggan for their work with CAPS students at Kildare Stables.

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