The 2022 Young Adult Program graduation was held on June 23rd at the Italian American Community Center. It was the first in-person and inside ceremony since the pandemic began. Sixteen graduates received their diplomas and celebrated what had been a challenging few years.

    "A global pandemic couldn't slow down the growth and progress our 2022 grads gained,” Briana Macaione, YAP Teacher, says. “They knew it was theirs for the taking and with the dedication of their team, They did it!” 

    This group of students from YAP completed their YAP studies throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. That meant periods of virtual learning with no in-person interaction, it meant learning in uncomfortable masks, it meant quarantines and, in some cases, it meant dealing with sickness while trying to be successful at school. 

    If nothing else this experience taught them how to deal with adversity. There’s no doubt it took a team effort to make it through.

    “I am so proud of each and every person involved with graduation; students, staff, and family.  None of us could have gotten through the past few years without the support of each other,” Nancy Crane, YAP Teacher, says.

    In many ways, the pandemic fostered its own lessons. Students learned to deal with changing structure, unpredictability, discomfort and isolation. Though all of those lessons might not find their way into a traditional curriculum, they will be lessons that will help them as they head into their next stage.

    “I am wildly proud of them and hope everyone they meet gets to experience the fruits of their hard work as they move into adult life,”  Briana Macaione says.

    The entire school staff was part of the success story. They dealt with all of the changes and with a constant staff shortage. Adapting, being creative and constant teamwork made the difference. Education is never easy with children, adolescents and young adults but the circumstances of the last year made for extraordinary challenges. Suffice to say, that the challenges were met at Wildwood School.

    “This year's Grad Class had a big impact on me.  This is a group of young men and women who started in YAP three to four years ago, in person at Latham.  Then COVID hit.  Virtual learning became the new norm,” Nancy Crane says.  “When we all got to come back to school in-person, it was like being at a family reunion.  To culminate at graduation was incredible.” 


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