CHATHAM, NJ — Jaclyn DiMuro of Livingston was among the students who graduated this year from ECLC of New Jersey’s school for students with special needs in Chatham. As a Livingston resident, DiMuro received a high school diploma conferred by Livingston Public Schools.

“Since the day Jaclyn was born we knew the road for her was going to be an uncertain one,” said Jaclyn’s brother, Mike DiMuro (Livingston High School Class of ’09). “She has always been determined and never gave up. After defying many odds and obstacles, she was able to satisfy the requirements needed to receive her high school diploma.

"Everyone is extremely proud of her hard work and determination that brought her to this point. Jaclyn is excited to continue her education and life skills at P.R.I.D.E. in the coming years.”

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Jaclyn and a number of her classmates will remain in the ECLC family by entering the P.R.I.D.E. Adult Program, offered to ECLC alumni who are not considered good candidates for work due to the nature of their individual disabilities.

P.R.I.D.E. stands for “Promoting Responsibility, Independence, Decision-making and Employability,” which are four aspirations shared by adults with special needs, according to ECLC. More than 160 adults are enrolled in ECLC’s P.R.I.D.E. Centers in Florham Park and Paramus.

“When I graduate, I will miss all my friends, learning and playing Conversation Jenga in speech,” Jaclyn said at the ceremony, where each graduate had an opportunity to reflect on their time at the school. “I am looking forward to P.R.I.D.E. next year.”

Adults in P.R.I.D.E. spend their days continuing to learn and grow by choosing their schedule from a wide range of options, including fitness, computers, book club, food shopping and cooking, fine arts and more. They also venture out into the community each day for volunteering, field trips and other activities. The program is open to ECLC graduates of any age and for as long as needed.

ECLC, which stands for “Education, Careers & Lifelong Community,” serves more than 800 children and adults from 11 counties who are diagnosed with autism, Down syndrome and various other disabilities.

The nonprofit operates two private schools, in Chatham and Ho-Ho-Kus, and ensures that its nearly 300 students graduate with a clear plan for their future. Its goal is to enable people with disabilities to live as independently as possible.

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