WHO: Sam Jones was adopted at a very early age by loving parents who have helped him overcome a brain injury, which caused him to have challenges with executive functioning that affects his academic, social, and behavioral development. Despite his learning challenges, Jones, now 22, and a student at Hillcrest’s Housatonic Academy for the past eight years, will celebrate his remarkable success when he receives his high school diploma on June 25. After graduation, the hard-working student will work as an agriculturist at Hancock Shaker Village in animal husbandry and horticulture.
WHAT: Hillcrest Housatonic Academy’s graduation ceremony, marking the accomplishments of students with complex psychiatric, behavioral, and/or developmental disorders.
Hillcrest is a member of the Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools (maaps).
WHEN: Thursday, June 25 at 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: Hillcrest Housatonic Academy Campus 1450 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA
NOTE TO MEDIA: Sam Jones, his mother Donna Jones, Hillcrest CEO Jerry Burke, and Hillcrest Executive Director Shaun Cusson, are available for interviews at the graduation. Jones’s teacher, Christopher Conry, is available for an interview before June 18. Jones and Hillcrest staff are the only ones who can be photographed during the graduation ceremony.
Hillcrest started as an organization that provided residential programs for students with complex psychiatric, behavioral and/or developmental disorders, including Autism, and a variety of high-risk behaviors. While the agency still provides these residential services, today Hillcrest also offers nonresidential day programs and services for emotionally/behaviorally disturbed students at their Housatonic Academy, general family dentistry at Hillcrest Dental Care and outpatient mental health services for children, adolescents and adults through Hillcrest Community Support Services.
Hillcrest Educational Centers is a maaps member school. maaps is a non-profit association whose member schools provide educational programs and services to students with special needs throughout Massachusetts. The schools operate over 150 day and residential programs and schools, providing education and treatment to approximately 5,500 Massachusetts students with disabilities. They also bring in more than $148 million into the Commonwealth’s economy in tuition payments from about 1,500 out-of-state students, and employ over 9,000 teachers, clinicians, residential care and other staff. For many of the students, maaps schools represent their first real opportunity for hope, achievement and to become productive members of society.
Andrea D’Iorio, 617-269-7171, firstname.lastname@example.org