Special education department hosts alumni holiday celebration

January 7, 2011 — by Megan Benzing and Aanchal Mohan

For the past five years, students and teachers from Saratoga High and West Valley College have coordinated their respective Special Education departments to host the Annual Alumni Holiday Celebration. On Dec. 15, the Sixth Annual Alumni Holiday Celebration was held in the cafeteria. It is a potluck, so attendees are encouraged to bring an appetizer, snack or dessert item.

According to teacher Courtney Crase, the celebration was started by Holly Wade, former director of Student Services, and Kathy Erickon, the mother of a former student.

“There are over 100 people who attend the event,” said Crase. “We invite alumni, current students and their families, as well as other people that positively influence us from school and the community: teachers, administrators, service providers and other community members.”

Assistant principal Karen Hyde said the department has its own database to contact past and present students and their parents for events such as these.

“Every year we have been doing it off campus, but this year we moved it on campus,” said Hyde. “It’s just a way for those kids to connect and stay in touch with each other.”

Instructional aide Jeanne Watson presented a photo slide show of past and present students at the event. “It was quite fun going through all the photos I’ve taken over the past 12 years and putting the slide show together,” she said.

The present students and the past students use this event to create and reinforce relationships through this event.

“Though it’s festive and fun,” said Hyde, “the connections made between the attendees and incredible and truly touching.”

“What is most satisfying each year, for the past six years, is that we get such a great response. I have many fond memories of many students over the past 12 years so being able to visit with those who attended the Alumni Holiday Celebration is always very touching,” said Watson. “For those older students who once attended the SHS Special Ed program, those who were once students I helped, I now call them my friends. I am very proud of them all, our past and present students.“

1 view this week