Twelve seniors from 11 public-school sending districts graduated this year from Pineland Learning Center (PLC), a private special education school for students ages five to 21. Following the ceremony, class members, guests, and a contingent of PLC alumni celebrated at a luncheon prepared by Chefs Wallace Fithian and Dave Aron, as well as the kitchen staff. The luncheon was then served with help from 11th grade student servers.
LaTia Colvin, MSN, APN, the Healthcare Providers director for American Integrative Medicine Centers of Freehold, NJ, was keynote speaker. It was Colvin’s second speech this year to the PLC seniors where she has inspired three graduates to enroll in college as healthcare education majors.
Senior class Transition/Job Coaching staff Mahlon Stewart and Timeka Lively spoke to the graduates and Principal Darwyn Minor presented their diplomas.
“Remember that you are all shining stars, so shine bright wherever your future may lead you,” said Lively. “Remember who you are because it is that strength that allowed you to make it this far and will carry you further.”
Lively shared an anecdote and pointed out a specific strength of each graduating senior based on her work with them during their time enrolled at the school. Longtime PLC staff Lively and Stewart served as educators in the senior class transition program throughout the school year.
Stewart described this year’s total of almost 1,000 hours of off-campus volunteer activities as the “most important accomplishment” of the seniors and other students: “This is a testament to our commitment and dedication to our community partnerships. It’s been an honor and a privilege for our students to gain this networking ability with our community members.”
Professional boxer Raymond Ford, winner of the 2018 National Golden Gloves in the 123-pound division, gave the traditional alumni speech about his experience at PLC and how it prepared him for his future success. He was recently described by The Ring magazine as the “newest buzz saw” from Camden when he turned pro.
Members of the Class of 2019 are Donovan Alvarez, Yolgaris Anglero, James Fletcher, Musa Geftic, DeAmante’ Germany, Aliyah Johnson, Andrew Kohan, Queen-Ajahne’ McBride, Jordan Rios, Julian Spaulding, Jefferson Wilford, and Ashley Zabala.
The community members partnering with PLC in volunteer student activities include Tarklin Senior Center, Inspira Fitness Connection, Twice Loved Treasures Thrift Shop, South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter, Pizza Queen, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Cumberland County Library, Absolute Health & Fitness, and Vineland Veterans Memorial Home.
Pineland Learning Center opened in 1980 and currently serves 150 students ages five to 21 at its 12-acre campus in Vineland. Students come from 40 sending districts in southern New Jersey. PLC also has a curriculum extension campus in Carmel, NJ.
The school seeks to educate and empower students in a structured, safe, and supportive environment through a cooperative partnership. For more on Pinelands Learning Center, visit pinelandschool.org.