Learning Center celebrates four graduates | ParkRecord.com

Learning Center celebrates four graduates

Frank Fisher, of the Record staff

Students, staff, parents, peer tutors and friends celebrated the graduation of four Learning Center students on Wednesday at City Park.

Ta’Niesha Adams, Shea Stickrod and Julianna Faulkner and Jake Benedict earned their high school certificates of completion. They were leaving the Learning Center’s transitional program, which sees them through the end of the school year after they reach their 22nd birthday.

"The transitional program is a partnership between parents, the Learning Center and the kids to see what they want their lives to be like," Tess Palczynski the post high school special education transition coordinator at the Learning Center said.

The four-year transitional program lines students up with volunteer jobs where they access the community and learn life skills.

Devanza’s Pizza provided lunch for the graduation. Students and families took advantage of the warm weather, participating in an array on activities.

Faulkner gathered the group together to give a thank you speech, as she stood by a giant ‘Congratulations’ balloon. She deviated from her written speech saying, "I don’t want to leave you guys," and started to cry. Brenda Hedden, principal of the Learning Center, gave her a hug. "She’s our cheerleader, Hedden said. "we’re going to miss her."

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Shea reflected on his years at the Learning Center. "I had fun all four years," he said. "I will miss it, but I’m ready for a change."

The Learning Center, linked to Park City High School, is considered an alternative school and offers a wide range of services for students of all abilities. Many of the students attend classes at both the Learning Center and the high school, which is within walking distance.

Palczynski helps transitional students find paying jobs after graduating. "This is a community-based effort," she said. After graduation, Strickland will work for Home Depot as a greeter. He hopes to start his own business.

Adams will likely help her mother with her hairdressing business.

"I would like to write the Park City School District a letter of thank you for educating people with disabilities," said Shea’s mother, Linda Stickrod