Four exceptional students graduated from the Eden School yesterday, marking the end of their high school journey and the start of a new chapter.
Eden families, students, teachers, and staff came together to celebrate graduates Alex, Colin, George, and Rohith. While each came to Eden at a different time, the young men graduate together with new skills and experiences that will help guide them through employment, volunteerism, and beyond.
The commencement ceremony was about so much more than graduation. The day was a culmination of years of hard work and dedication spent mastering daily life skills. Before the students received their diplomas, they were given awards for improved skills and classroom behavior. Behind every award was hours of practice, persistence, and patience.
“Congratulations to our four graduates, and maybe even more importantly, congratulations to our families,” Eden Autism President and CEO Michael Decker said. “I know they understand how much work has gone into getting here today. Eden is a membership organization, and we’re strong because of our members. Thank you to everyone — our families and our dedicated staff — for all that you have done for these students.”
Rohith came to Eden in July 2013 and immediately began spreading joy wherever he went. He is well known throughout the school for his social personality and contagious smile. Rohith has worked at TASK, the Plainsboro Public Library, and Van Leeuwen Company.
Alex also came to Eden in July 2013. Alex excelled at his job placements at the Plainsboro Municipal Building, Plainsboro Preserves, and Special Olympics Complex. Teachers say he is one of the most determined workers at the school, letting nothing stop him from finishing the task at hand.
George came to Eden in October 2014 and worked at the Windsor Athletic Club, Equestrian Center, and Clayton Center. His teacher, Corey Hughes, praised George’s work ethic and bright personality. “I think that he’s usually misunderstood because of his size, but when you get to know him he’s a big teddy bear,” Hughes said.
Colin came to Eden in December 2016. He loves going to his job placement at We Make, and will continue to work there after graduation. Teachers say they will miss Colin’s energetic personality and the light he brought into the school.
While Colin will continue his journey with We Make, Rohith, Alex, and George will remain with Eden in the adult day program. Eden School alumni Sammy Pickett ’17, who spoke at the ceremony, said he’s already looking forward to seeing the new graduates at the day centers.
As the students and their families begin their next chapter, they will surely never forget their experiences at the Eden School.
“In addition to thanking the families for all you do on behalf of the children everyday, I’d also like to take a moment to thank the staff — the classroom teachers, teaching assistants, speech and PE staff, job coaches, clinical team, after school program staff, and everyone that the students have had the opportunity to work with throughout their years here at Eden,” said Cindy Bott-Tomarchio, Director of Educational Services. “Each of you have touched their lives in unique ways and will always be an important part of every milestone they continue to achieve along the way.”