EAST PROVIDENCE — Eleven members of the community were honored when the East Providence Local Advisory Committee (EPLAC) for Special Education held its fifth annual Recognition Program Reception Thursday night, May 9, in the Martin Middle School cafeteria.
The Local Advisory Committee for Special Ed is comprised of parents of children with disabilities along with administrators, teachers and other concerned community members. EPLAC meets monthly during the school year to share concerns and discuss educational issues that impact students with special needs.
For each of the last five years, EPLAC has sought input from the community, attempting to highlight the good work and efforts performed by those who support its cause.
Thursday, those people nominated and chosen to receive accolades were honored at the recognition ceremony, which featured light hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef Mary Ellen Hatch and some of her students from the East Providence Career and Tech Center. Khadeejah Morrision, Jailyn Kilgore and Katie Krakue assisted Chef Hatch in presenting the fare.
EPLAC co-chairs Laurie Brown and Jenn Enos emceed the event. School Committee Chairman Joel Monteiro gave the keynote address, stressing his desire to make more people in the city aware of work EPLAC does on a yearly basis.
“I commend the work the committee does,” Chairman Monteiro said in part. “My No. 1 goal is to communicate this resource to the families of Special Needs students in East Providence.”
This year’s winners were broken down into three categories: Program, Community Resource and Special Acknowledgement.
Erin Sladen, an Orlo Avenue School Special Ed teacher, Sue Feiro, a Special Ed teacher at Martin Middle School, Lois Boyd, a teacher assistant at East Providence High School and three EPHS students — Mariah Lobello, Casey Duckworth and Bridgette Winslet — were honored in the Program category.
Eileen Tainsh, a volunteer in the Riverside Little League and St. Martha’s basketball Challenger Divisions, Kim Ferrara, owner of “Wigglekids” and an instructor there, along with Tammy Primmer, coordinator of the autism and sacraments program at St. Brendan’s Church, were recognized in the Community Resource group.
Stephanie Luft, a speech pathologist at Kent Heights School, and Margaret Knowlton, Head of School for the Grace & Carter School at Meeting Street School, were noted in the Special Acknowledgement category.
Two other notes from the evening, new Superintendent of Schools Kim Mercer was briefly in attendance Thursday but needed to leave the ceremony due to a family emergency.
Also, a young man with special needs at the program suffered a seizure. Several people attempted to provide aid, including young Ms. Lobello from EPHS. The young man needed medical attention. He was alert, but was taken to hospital for precautionary reasons.
For those interested, EPLAC meets the last Wednesday of each month at the Martin Middle School Library from 7 to 8:30 p.m. For information about the committee visit www.epschoolsri.com.