Parent Speech Given During Family Weekend 2011 - Stewart Home & School

Parent Speech Given During Family Weekend 2011

All You Need Is Love Beatles 1960s

It is appropriate that this year’s theme for the Stewart Home School Family Weekend is “All You Need Is Love”.

When Linda and I thought about Amanda’s future during her high school years we thought: what were the criteria we wanted for Amanda as she matured as a young woman and moved out from our daily care? Having seen what options were available in New Jersey, and talking with other parents of Special Needs children, it was clear to us that we wanted Amanda to have the experience of a “full service” School/Home with a diverse population and a robust program of academics, work and social activities. We ruled out a Group Home immediately for a number of reasons and commenced our search for an alternative. Thanks to another parent here at SHS, Donna Saunders Chapin, whose son Jeff has been here for 18 years, we decided to visit. Of course after meeting Sandy Bell and spending a day seeing all that the school has to offer we fell in love with the place. I remember asking Sandy when we reconvened in her office: What are we missing? This place seems too perfect, there has to be something wrong here!!

Sandy just smiled, and said as only she can, that the Stewart Home School is indeed a very special place, and the Stewart family along with the entire staff love our children and are dedicated to making their lives as wonderful and fulfilling as can be. It truly is a unique place. All of you that have children here know it. There is no other school like it anywhere and the Stewart Family has devoted their lives to making a home for our children. Without question, the Beatles’ song “All You Need Is Love” fits the Stewart Home School.

As parents, Linda and I are grateful that we found SHS, and that Amanda has adjusted so well to living among 400 other students. It is truly a family. We try to have Amanda come home or we come to SHS every 4-6 weeks. Sometimes Amanda’s social schedule makes keeping to that schedule difficult, but we still keep it as a goal. I think in the 3 years that Amanda has been here, she has traveled more than we have. I’m not sure what I would do if I didn’t get an email from Deirdre Cohorn asking for permission for another outing or trip! The Grand Canyon, Disney World, New Orleans, etc. This is all on top of attending classes in a beautiful Academic Building, working and riding in one of the best Equestrian Centers anywhere in the world, or just going to activities. We are still looking for what is wrong at the Stewart Home School! As parents, we have had a wonderful experience at SHS and that is mainly because Amanda is happy and involved. If we have an issue, all it takes is a phone call to Sandy or the medical staff to get to the bottom of the problem. As important as the total program is at SHS, the most important thing to Linda and me as parents is knowing that our daughter Amanda is happy, safe and healthy. The Stewart Home School works hard to provide a wonderful living experience for all its students, and each student brings unique qualities that make Stewart a truly special place. ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE.

Thank you, SHS.