Students Graduate From School Of Their Lives - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/19/05-Tyler

Students Graduate From School Of Their Lives

For seven East Texas students, Tuesday was one of the best days of their lives. For those who love them, it was one of their most emotional.

Tyler ISD's St. Louis School is home for children with severe developmental disabilities. Some of them enter as infants, and remain for 20 years.

Dr. David Simmons, Tyler ISD Superintendent: "We start graduating students every may in Tyler ISD, but we're not finished until we finish the ceremony here at St. Louis."

The pomp and the ceremony is no different than that seen by thousands of other graduates this year. But these graduates are most special, because they've not been just not just students for a year, but for their lives.

"They're with us all of their lives until they're 21-22 years old and we try to get them ready to go our in the community," says principal Karyn Hacker.

There are smiles and tears. Pam and Gordon Roberts are some of the many parents saying goodbye along with their children.

"We feel that St. Louis is part of our family and we're a part of its family," says Gordon Roberts, parent of a graduate.

Mother Pam Roberts: "It's a very emotional time for us, because we've been a part of St. Louis for 21 years, and it's just real hard to let it go."

Some parents will care for their children at home. Others will find the right option now that it's time to move on.

"In terms of life, it's a big transition. They've been here, some of them, 21-22 years, and they're going to a new place. You get very attached and it's a happy moment, but it's a little bit where we're going to miss them, miss them a lot," Hacker says.

An emotion that is mutual on this day of tears and smiles.

"We feel blessed that this facility exists in our community," says Gordon Roberts.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.  morganpalmer@kltv.com

 

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