Rockville, Md. — TLC—The Treatment and Learning Centers’ Katherine Thomas School held a special two-day holiday celebration on December 21 and 22, 2010 to mark its 15th anniversary that welcomed back many alumni who shared their stories and participated in special events. KTS is a special education school for students with moderate to severe language and learning disabilities and/or high-functioning autism, preschool through 12th grade.
The first event, a Parent to Parent Workshop led by KTS Social Worker Sally Neuberger, brought together parents past and present who shared stories about their children and the many different strategies for success. Allowing room to grow, balancing social and academic needs and supporting interests and passions can all be important for KTS students with a wide range of learning disabilities. Parents were encouraged to start looking early for the many options available, including college classes, degree programs, volunteer opportunities and job internships.
Nancy Lorentz noted that a KTS internship helped her daughter Jennifer become interested in an occupation for the first time. Dodi Guiliani, parent of Tiffany who is one of KTS’ first fifth grade graduates, noted how important KTS was for her daughter and said “I thought it was important for Tiffany to experience as much as possible, encourage her independence and give her responsibilities.” Now a very confident 26 year old, Tiffany currently has a six month internship in the Human Resource Department of the Department of Disabilities and has also worked part-time as an usher at the Kennedy Center for just over 2 years.
Alumni Speakers enjoyed talking with current KTS students on a number of topics including graphic art, college, learning differences and parenthood. Matthew Jablonski, a KTS 8th grade graduate and a current graphic design major at West Virginia Wesleyan College, talked about the importance of accommodations: “In college, there is a lot less help available to you than in high school and it’s very important that professors know about your accommodations so that you are able to have what you need to do the work.” Other speakers included Anabel Hunter, Tiffany Guiliani and Rachel Hamm.
The KTS Holiday Music Concert, under the direction Amy Gardiner and John Schucker and assisted by Chris Marousek, was a highlight of the celebration. Performers included the High School Drum Ensemble, Faculty Flute Choir, High School Guitar Class, Orff Ensemble and the KTS Chorus of middle and high school students accompanied by KTS alumni Annabel Hunter. A wide variety of traditional and contemporary instrumental and vocal pieces celebrating Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanzaa were enthusiastically received by the standing room only audience including Kuku, Shalom Chaverim, Carol of the Bells, Brisa Camblanda, Greensleeves, Nona Nobis Pacem, Kuna Karamu, and You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch. Soloists included Parlett Cabo, Danny Fernicola, Laura Greif, Naiyel McClam, Amanda McShane, Dev Suprenant and Ben Walsh. Ten alumni also joined the chorus on stage for the Jingle Bells finale and were welcomed to a reception with faculty and staff.
The following day alumni joined current students and staff for the first KTS Alumni Basketball Game, which was a great success. The alumni had a strong showing and played some excellent basketball teaming with current staff. The students played in mixed age groups from 12th to 6th grade and the teamwork of the KTS students was impressive. High school players role modeled good sportsmanship and facilitated true teamwork with the middle school students. A reception followed and all are looking forward to a second annual alumni game next year.
TLC—The Treatment and Learning Centers, a non-profit organization located in Rockville, Md., improves lives and expands possibilities for individuals with special needs. With over 60 years of service to the community, TLC is committed to integrity and excellence in our care and strives to assist all, regardless of their ability to pay.
For more information visit www.ttlc.org.