The Bridge Academy celebrates Class of 2024

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On Friday, June 7, the Bridge Academy celebrated the graduation of the seven students in the Class of 2024. It was the final graduation ceremony presided over by the school’s founding Director of Education, Susan K. Morris, who is retiring at the end of the school year.

Karen Reinhard offered the annual Parent Reflection. 

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“Each family arrived at The Bridge Academy with its own unique story. Life redirected us off the beaten path and onto some unexpected detours. Raising children with learning differences can sometimes feel like you’re off-roading without a helmet. And when we crashed into The Bridge Academy, we found an unexpected community and an unyielding commitment to our children’s success; when we had nearly lost hope that such a place existed. It was a destination we never expected to travel to, but now, feels almost impossible to leave.”

Vice Principal Karen Savar compared this year’s graduating class to the characters in A.H. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh series, explaining how each of the characters in that series are “all very different in their ways, yet all very similar in the most important way, how they care for each other. And when I think of this year’s graduates, I think of friendship. Each arrived here alone, and through time have made some amazing friends.”

Each graduate was also given the opportunity to speak about their time at the school.

Will Blum, Robbinsville, came to Bridge eighth grade. A longtime member of the Boy Scouts, Blum credits the school for giving him the skills he needed to lead an overnight scouting trip and to earn the prestigious Eagle Scout Award. He is currently training to be a Scout Master and will attend Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida to study Hospitality and Tourism.

Rachael Lefkovic, Jamesburg, said her six years at The Bridge Academy “has changed me for the better.” Savar described Rachel as a leader, and a great advocate for people.”

Dustin Kuchta, Farmingdale, attended Bridge for seven years. He encouraged the current students in the audience to persevere. “The Bridge Academy can work; you just have to work hard.”

Tricia Saple, North Brunswick, came to Bridge in the seventh grade. She will be attending The College of New Jersey in the fall to study Early Childhood Education. 

Jonathan Giovanelli, Robbinsville, spent six years at Bridge, during which time he proved to be extremely skilled at mechanics and repairs. Savar joked, “Whenever anything at school broke, we would say, ‘Take it to Jon, he can fix anything!'” Giovanelli plans to study Heavy Diesel Equipment.

Austin Kolczynski, Hamilton, has been studying auto body repair through the Mercer County Career Center.

Max Reinhard, Edison, described his school experiences before coming to Bridge in 2015 as “I felt like I was in muddy water,” but said he will never forget his excitement at being able to read his first chapter book alone just three months laterReinhard plans to attend Syracuse University to study Real Estate and Architecture. His advice to his younger schoolmates was “Always do your best in all you want to do. Even the small things go a long way.”

Additionally, three students were promoted to the ninth grade: Abigail Fayder, Monroe Township, Islam Abdelilah, Monmouth Junction, and Shauna Reilly, Somerset.

The Bridge Academy in Lawrenceville opened in 2003 with a mission to educate an empower students with language-based learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, to reach their fullest potential through a comprehensive education program developed around each child’s individual needs.

To learn more about The Bridge Academy, visit BridgeAcademyNJ.org.

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