On Thursday, May 21, the North Attleboro Special Education Parent Advisory Council recognized eight individuals who work and/or reside in North Attleborough and support individuals with special needs. This is the seventh year that individuals have been nominated for their extraordinary efforts in working with or extending a hand to someone with different abilities.
In 2014, State Rep. Betty Poirier asked that the council implement such a program, as she had a colleague doing the same in another district of Massachusetts. It has been a wonderful program and has spread an important message of hope and inclusion as the community celebrates these heroes supporting loved ones.
The council recognizes individuals from a number of categories including School Department Faculty, District Awards for those who aren’t part of the teaching staff, student volunteers, and in 2018 a Community Kindness Award was introduced. This year, the following heroes were recognized:
- Kerri Gaudette
- Kelsey Gagnon
- Marianne Barnes
- Gail Silva
- Ann Marie McGrail (all faculty members from the North Attleboro School department)
- Cheryl Andre (special education bus driver)
- Also awarded was High School Senior, Best Pal and Unified Track Participant, Meghan McCormack and Officer Justin Connolly from the North Attleboro Police Department.
On a Google Meet tele-conference call, there were 40 people in attendance celebrating these Heroes. Each Hero’s nominator read their submission for all to hear. In a time when events are cancelled, and people are feeling isolated, the council thought it was important to continue with this tradition. Although it was virtual, all that was missing were photo ops and hugs. The sentiments were the same as it was a much-needed celebration.
Submitted by Sammi Robertson, President of the North Attleboro SEPAC