Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Central High School holds ceremony for special-needs graduates

BROOKSVILLE — The special-needs students at Central High School blend into the crowd during the school year, working on their lessons and preparing for graduation just like their more able-bodied peers.

But the graduation day ceremonies — filled with big, noisy crowds and long speeches — can be too demanding for some of the students.

This year, the school decided to hold a special ceremony for the seven special students. The event Monday morning included a reception with cake and punch after the students received their diplomas.

The exceptional student education graduates were invited to be a part of the special event as well as Central's full graduation ceremony on June 3.

Stacy Jarrell, who works the Central High front desk, and English teacher Samantha Keister are senior class sponsors. They wanted a way to have the special needs students experience the graduation excitement.

"I just wanted to do something for those students' families, so they could enjoy something special that honors their child," Jarrell said.

Lisa Wheeler's daughter, Tiffany Shinn, 21, participated in the special graduation. Tiffany is intellectually delayed and has cerebral palsy, and Wheeler said her daughter would benefit from the quieter and shorter ceremony.

"I think it's wonderful," Wheeler said.

Wheeler is also very happy that Tiffany had exceptional student education teacher Kirsten Mihok during her years at Central.

"Mrs. Mihok is one of the most wonderful teachers I've ever met and Tiffany's been in school a long time," she said.

Paula Anderson is grateful for the new event because it helps her daughter, Kristine Rowan, 18, savor the commencement experience.

"We love it," she said. "She wouldn't have made it through the long one."

Kristine, who is diagnosed with muscular dystrophy type II and cerebral palsy, would have had trouble waiting for all the graduates in the full-school ceremony to walk across the stage for their diplomas.

"She gets a little irritated and gets scared if there's a big crowd. And she doesn't like loud noises, either," Anderson said.

Central High School holds ceremony for special-needs graduates 05/24/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 2, 2011 5:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gov. candidate Chris King: Climate change is biggest threat to Florida's economy


    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King today made his case for how economic growth and fighting climate change go hand in hand. His rivals for the Democratic nomination, Gwen Graham and …

    Winter Park businessman Chris King and his family
  2. Editorial: Buckhorn's proposed tax increase is too high for Tampa


    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's proposed city budget for 2018 confronts some hard realities of the times. With debt payments looming and another fire station opening in fast-growing north Tampa, the City Council needs to consider raising property taxes, especially with the prospect of another homestead exemption around the …

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s proposed city budget for 2018 confronts some hard realities of the times. But it seems overly ambitious, and the City Council should be cautious about raising taxes too much in a single swoop.
  3. The next step in a sex abuse survivor's recovery: Erasing her tattoo


    Times Staff Writer

    TAMPA — Even after 20 years, Sufiyah can't escape the memories of being sexually exploited by gang members as a teenager.

    The tattoo makes it impossible.

    Sufiyah, an aAbuse survivor, prepares to have a tattoo removed  at Tampa Tattoo Vanish  on Thursday. During her teen years, she was sexually exploited by a gang. The tattoo is a mark of her exploiters. 

Tampa Tattoo Vanish is a new tattoo removal business run by Brian Morrison, where survivors of human trafficking get free tattoo removal.  [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  4. Cridlin: Linkin Park's Chester Bennington had a wail that stood apart

    Music & Concerts

    For all the old-timers' talk about how they don't make singers like they used to, about how rock vocalists of the 21st century can't hold a candle to the frontmen of yesteryear, here's a fact no hater could deny:

    Chester Bennington could flat-out wail.

    Chester Bennington of Linkin Park  performs at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa for the 2014 Carnivores Tour. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  5. Police investigating shooting in north Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Police were investigating a shooting in north Tampa Thursday that left one person seriously injured.