Brody Wyatt was struggling in his previous school district, but when he transferred to the Vern Riffe School in Portsmouth, things turned around. Now Brody is a senior preparing to graduate, he has many friends, and he’s involved in many school activities.
“In his senior year (at his previous school) they noticed he was really struggling and it was suggested that we bring him here. So he was brought here and it has been amazing. He’s a whole different kid,” said mother Lucinda Wyatt. “He was withdrawn and didn’t talk about anything, and he’s very outgoing now. He’s very talkative now. He fits in here and he has friends.”
Brody likes to participate in school activities, including Special Olympics, the Scioto County Fair and marching in parades with Scioto County Developmental Disabilities. He’s become an advocate for the school, talking on local radio and meeting with the Director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities Kimberly Hauck. He works with the janitorial staff through the STAR program, and he operates a popular coffee bar inside the school with his friend Jon Mitchell.
“That started in Brenda McDonald’s class, and Brody and Jon run it every morning. They take care of the orders, the cleaning, the money, and everything for it,” said SCDD Outreach Coordinator Theresa Rowland.
Brody also plays on the Vern Riffe School Cardinals Special Olympics teams and the Challenger basketball league. He will also be on the team playing in the 10th celebratory Hardwood Heroes celebrity fundraiser game at Shawnee State University on March 23, 2023.
“I like the school, and I have made a lot of friends here. Plus, I get to work here too,” Brody said. “In class, I like to do my work first, and then see what else I have to do. My most favorite thing to do at school is talk to my friends and do projects.”
This was not the first experience for the Wyatt family. Brody’s older brother Bret also attended Vern Riffe School and graduated in 2020. So when they suggested transferring Brody to the Vern Riffe School she was eager to make the change.
“I knew that Brody would get what he needed here,” Lucinda said. “You know that feeling of the big rock … and then it’s lifted and over? That’s how it was. They both excelled. They both got a chance to be who they were and got to grow into who they wanted to be.”
For more information about the programs and services at Scioto County Developmental Disabilities, call 740-353-0636 or visit online at www.sciotodd.org, and like and follow them on Facebook and TikTok.