Scioto County DD News Article

Eleven students graduate from Vern Riffe School on May 19


Eleven students will graduate from the Vern Riffe School during its ceremony in the Vern Riffe School gymnasium on May 19, 2023, at 1 p.m.

“This graduating class has already started to step out and make positive changes in their lives. We have quite a few that have already started working. They currently work part-time jobs that will help them transition into adulthood,” said Vern Riffe School Principal Tammy Guthrie. “I have watched this group over the past eight years develop from upper-elementary age students to getting ready to graduate. I’ve seen them progress and take part in interviews and speak well about themselves and their experiences.”

This year’s graduates are:

Jonathan Tyler Mitchell, from Franklin Furnace, enjoys listening to music, watching videos and shows about cars, buses, and trucks. He likes to go out to eat, and spend time with family and friends. His future plans are to continue his job at Wheelersburg Dairy Queen, and to start the program at the STAR, Inc. to make new friends and learn new things. His guardians are Paula and Jeremy Rogers.

Christopher Gary Glispie
, from Wheelersburg, enjoys playing on his iPad, drawing, watching Veggietales, and a good nap. He also plays challenger baseball during the summer, and some Special Olympics events during the school year. His future plans are to attend the STAR, Inc. His parents are Gary and Kathryn Glispie.

Gabrielle Alee Marie Ray Collins, from Portsmouth, enjoys basketball, horse riding, makeup, art, and reading. She also takes an active role in her home church. Her future plans are to get married, get her own place to live, as well as to continue working at Rural King, and to work at the school. Her guardians are Pamela and Jason Thompson.

James L. Cooper Jr., from Portsmouth, Ohio, enjoys hobbies including watching cars, and movies. He also enjoys making people happy and people watching. His future plans are to work and to continue to live with his family. His mother is Theresa Arthur.

Clayton Patrick, from Franklin Furnace, enjoys hobbies including watching the iPad, and cooking. He also enjoys watching Wheel of Fortune. His future plans include continued development of his cooking skills, and the exploration of part time programs to continue his development of daily living skills and socialization. His parents are Michelle and Jason Patrick.

Brayden Michael Reyes, who was born in Texas, moved to Ohio in 2017. His hobbies include watching videos on his tablet such as Paw Patrol, Thomas the Train, and Cars. He is a big eater and loves pizza rolls, as well as going on car trips and listening to music. After graduation he plans to attend a local day service program. His guardian is Mary Crabtree.

Earl Fredrick Bender, from Portsmouth, loves car rides and traveling. He enjoys watching his tablet, looking through a magnifying glass and playing with mirrors. His future plans are to continue living with his mom and dad and to try out STAR, Inc. He lives with his parents Sheila Kay Allen and William David Allen.

Jarrett Rylan Wallbrown, from Lucasville, enjoys hobbies including watching videos on the internet, such as Disney classics and new films alike, he also enjoys swinging on the swings and solitude. His future plans are to continue living with his parents and explore day programs to find what suits him best. He lives with his parents Monica and Paul Sigman.

Olivia Grace Jacobs, from Minford, likes the outdoors, roasting marshmallows, making crafts. She also loves animals of all shapes and sizes, as well as dressing up in costumes, and for parties. She loves spending time with her mom and dad and two big brothers, as well as her grandmas, and cousins. She likes watching her favorite shows, Winnie the Pooh, and Blues Clues as much as she does road trips. After graduation she wants to attend a day program, take swimming lessons and possibly work with animals part time. She lives with her parents Dianna and Jim Jacobs.

Maxwell Edwards, from Portsmouth; his hobbies include singing and dancing. He also enjoys playing games on his iPad, and hanging out with his friends. He likes taking walks and working. He spent his senior year at the Scioto County Career Technical Center in the Project Life program, and also completed an internship at Hillview Retirement Center. After graduation he plans to find work in the community. His mother is Charlene Edwards and his father was Mark Underwood. His guardian is Melissa Gampp.

Jonathon Lee Adkins, from Otway, enjoys hobbies including playing sports with his friends such as basketball, kickball, and volleyball. His plans for after graduation are to visit STAR, Inc. to continue socializing with his fellow classmates and friends, as well as explore possible employment in the community. His parents are Pamela Nylund, Jody Miller, Keith and Stacy Nylund.

“This is one of our largest graduating classes in a long time. One of our graduates finished out their senior year at the Scioto County Career Technical Center, where they did a whole program,” said Tom Koch, an intervention specialist for the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities (SCDD).

The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 19. Invocation will be delivered by Loretta Cooper, and Principal Tammy Guthrie will make some remarks. SCDD Board Member and Self-Advocate for developmental Disabilities, Bill Adams, will give the keynote speech. A slideshow of graduations will be played, followed by the awarding of diplomas and then photos opportunities in the gymnasium. The event will be live-streamed on Facebook.

For more information about the programs and services at Scioto County Developmental Disabilities, call the number provided or visit online at, and like and follow them on Facebook and TikTok.

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