OSSINING, N.Y. - Once a week, the patrons at Turco’s in Yorktown Heights are treated to friendly waves from Katelyn Love.
In her final year at the Pines Bridge Transitions program of Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES for students with developmental challenges, Love has made great strides in communicating, grocery shopping for others in the program, and developing her cooking skills.
For her progress, she was named a Student of Distinction at the Dec. 14 school board meeting in Ossining, her home district.
“Katelyn is graduating this year from our transitions program,” Shelley Fleischmann, director of special educations for PNW BOCES, told the Ossining Board of Education and audience at the meeting in Ossining High School library. “She goes out to the community two times a week and she is working on skills to make her more independent. She goes to Turco’s in Yorktown and BJ's and she shops for the Pines Bridge program. She’s working on cooking skills and being social, and right now she has come a long way in using her iPad to communicate.”
She began at the Pines Bridge Transition Program in 2007. At Turco’s, she locates food items based on photos, said her teacher, Andrea Vezos.
“This year as a member of the Transition program, Katelyn has shown consistent growth in her social and communication skills,” Vezos wrote. “She has been seen waving to neighbors while out in the community. Katelyn has learned to purchase her lunch at Turco’s and is a productive member of Pines Bridge, shopping for the school program at BJ's. Katelyn has become very expressive using an iPad to communicate her wants and needs while in the community and during the school day.”
Her parents, Peter and Debbie Love, said Katelyn likes to watch people, and was enjoying the attention from the school board and audience, which applauded when she received the honor.
“It’s exciting for her,” Debbie Love said.
They said she has been learning skills around the home—and that she waves everywhere now.
“When she leaves any place, she waves to everybody,” Peter Love said.
Dr. James M. Ryan, superintendent of PNW BOCES, thanked the Ossining board for joining in the recognition of Love.
“The opportunity to be recognized by her own school is not lost on her, and it’s not lost on us,” Dr. Ryan said. “Thanks so much for taking the time to host us and for recognizing your own student, Katelyn Love.”
Ossining Superintendent Raymond Sanchez wished the honoree well.
“I know that you will continue to be very successful as you move on,” he said.