HKSB News Release
Family and Friends Celebrate Helen Keller Services for the Blind’s Annual Preschool Graduation
June 27, 2011, New York —“Friendship” was the theme at this year’s Helen Keller Services for the Blind’s (HKSB) Children’s Learning Center graduation. The event was held June 23 in Downtown Brooklyn at National Grid’s Auditorium.
Parents, teachers, siblings, and loved ones united to celebrate the achievement of the 19 students—one of HKSB’s largest-ever Preschool graduating classes.
Thomas J. Edwards, HKSB President & CEO, opened the day’s festivities by welcoming everyone to the graduation and congratulating not only the students but parents and caregivers. “By working hand-in-hand with our agency, you are helping your children to be better prepared to reach their potential,” he said.
The procession of graduates followed, and Father Mark Lane of the Oratory Church of St. Boniface gave the invocation.
Musical performances led by music teacher Michel Gentile included the songs “A Little Wheel (in my heart),” “Joy to the World,” and everyone’s favorite, “All Together Now.”
Army Veteran Candice Rodriguez was one of this year’s recipients of the Parent Award, for her dedication and commitment as an advocate for children who are disabled.
Among the graduates was a young man named Jeremiah. Nicknamed Cuba after his very first spoken word, Jeremiah was born 24 weeks premature with no eyesight and was initially pronounced stillborn by his doctors. He developed asthma, underwent several surgeries, and spent six months in the hospital after his birth. Jeremiah started attending the Children’s Learning Center in 2008 and eventually learned how to speak. But what Jerry really developed was a passion for music. He can dance, sing, and most especially, loves to play the drums. As CLC Principal Garth White attests, "Jerry can play the drums like Tito Puente and has the perfect pitch.” A rambunctious and happy kid, Jerry now moves on to public school after HKSB graduation.
The 2011 graduates were: Shahed Almontaser, Tyler Ballantyne, Nasir Barbosa, Tatyana Blue, David Boules, Kevin Correa, Nyziah Hernandez, Vakel Johnson, Stefany Luna, Jessica Matchuca, Jeremiah Ming, Jaylee Morales, Guadalupe Portugal-Espindela, Norya Qassimi, Benjamin Rodriguez, Melinda Rodriguez, Keythan Velez, John Vidals, and Victoria Worrell-Caceres