It was meant to be a getting-to-know-you visit. Student Council members from Fox Meadow High School wanted to reach out to the multiply disabled students at the Pines Bridge School, bringing the two groups of Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES students together. The high school students expected to be moved by the challenges the other youngsters face, but they didn’t anticipate forging lasting bonds and making plans for a second visit before the first was over.
“The visit really made them think,” said Fox Meadow guidance counselor Jason Tobacco of the eight student council members that went to Pines Bridge. “They saw the challenges these students had and how well they’re doing with them. They can’t wait to go back again!”
While the Fox Meadow students helped the Pines Bridge students decorate cookies, sing songs, and read stories, the main focus of the day was getting to know each other.
“It was great seeing them smile,” said Fox Meadow junior Brandon McCabe from Pawling. Brandon, also a Carpentry student at The Tech Center, said the Pines Bridge students really made him feel comfortable.
“They were really happy to have us there, and it made me feel good about myself,” he said.
During the discussion session that followed their visit, Fox Meadow students reflected on how the afternoon went. “The main thing they said is ‘When can we go back?’” said Mr. Tobacco.
In planning their next visit, Fox Meadow students are thinking about creative possibilities. “They’ve been brainstorming about how they could possibly become involved in a field day of some sort,” said Mr. Tobacco.
For Brandon, the visit may just have changed the direction of his future. “It really made me think that working with students like this might be something I’d like to do in the future,” he said.
Caption: Pines Bridge student Joshua Prela, left, and Fox Meadows student Amanda Hays get acquainted in the most enjoyable way — by decorating cookies.
Photo courtesy P/NW BOCES