Five students will graduate from the Vern Riffe School on May 20. This year's graduates are Cameron Matthew Brannon Watson, Alexander Jordan Dillow, Aaron Jameson Jacobs, Charles Franklin Shaefer, and Shaylah Brittania Taylor.
“We make sure they have access, and we teach them the core curriculum dictated by the Ohio Department of Education, but with additional emphasis on functional living skills,” said Tom Koch, an intervention specialist for the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities (SCDD). “We’ve worked on money skills, finding items from a list, adding the totals of items, and purchasing items. A lot of functional life skills. Especially communication and how to navigate environments safely.”
The graduation ceremony begins at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 20, in the gymnasium of Vern Riffe School in Portsmouth. Principal Tammy Guthrie will welcome guests, and students will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and Star-Spangled Banner. A slideshow of photos will be on display to highlight the graduating students’ time at Vern Riffe School. A reception follows.
This year’s graduating class includes:
Cameron Matthew Brannon Watson - From the hometown of McDermott, Ohio, he is 22 years old and lives with his parents, Eric and Nicole Montavon. Cameron loves trading card games and game shows on tv. He is a huge fan of Anime and plays challenger baseball. He has also helped manage the Special Olympics Basketball team for years. His future plans are to explore employment opportunities.
Alexander Jordan Dillow - From the Hometown of Lucasville, Ohio. He is the 20-year-old son of Jennifer McKinley. He currently lives in a group home with his friends. He enjoys playing basketball, football, and singing. As well as going to the movies and spending time outside, especially fishing. His future plans are to get a job and learn how to play the guitar.
Aaron Jameson Jacobs - From the Hometown of Minford, Ohio, he is 22 years old and currently lives with his parents, Dianna and James Jacobs. He enjoys watching Disney movies and singing as well as playing games with others. He also loves to swim and be outdoors and is a very happy young man. His future plans are to attend the Star workshop and possibly pursue employment.
Charles Franklin Schaefer - From the hometown of Lucasville, Ohio, he is the 18-year-old son of Ronna Sue and Jeff Schaefer and currently lives with his mother. He is a determined young man who enjoys country music. His future plans are to attend an adult workshop program.
Shaylah Brittania Taylor - Born in Huntington, West Virginia, she was raised in Portsmouth, Ohio. She is the 21-year-old daughter of Troi and Scott Taylor and spends time with her grandmother and caregiver, Gail Twist. She enjoys listening to music, especially Jazz, and cruising in the car with the windows down on a warm day. Her future plans are to attend trips to the zoo, amusement parks and to visit family.
“Two of the graduates are from my class, and there is a night and day difference from when they first hit my classroom and now. They are way more independent and can do a lot more for themselves. Their communication skills have expanded, as well as their money skills and functional life skills. The growth that they’ve shown is impressive,” Koch said.
For more information about the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities, visit online at www.sciotodd.org and like and follow them on Facebook.