Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Above and Beyond #5

by Tamsin Troff

During the course of every calendar year some very exciting things take place in the CI program at HHS. Our school day activities are chock full of classes and activities ranging from several specially geared academic and life skill classes, to our Work Study program which involves 29 students being placed in volunteer positions in area businesses, two mornings each week.

We also arrange and fund raise for multiple field trips so that our students can participate in social situations that they may not normally be exposed. Most of these trips are within the community but every eighteen months we go on “the big one”. We alternate between having a camping experience at Camp Algonquin for three days and two nights, and having a city trip to Chicago for the same amount of time.

As a result of writing and being given a grant from the Holland Area Arts Council, our students will enjoy a second twelve week period (one hour a week) working with artists and making art at the HAAC. Our students were so proud last year when they showed off their art work at an evening open house attended by the public, family and friends!

We have traditions, too. This winter will be the twenty-third year that we have had a spaghetti dinner and then go to a HHS basketball game as a group. In the fall we have a pizza party before going to a HHS football game.

The planning for these students doesn’t take a vacation or know about business hours. We not only work with the students, but wind up being somewhat involved with their entire family. Although this sounds ominous and sometimes is, it is important for the comfort and trust of the parents. It also paves the road for good working relations when siblings grace our door.