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A Standing Ovation at Andrus Graduation Ceremony is Tribute to Resilient Youth

A Standing Ovation at Andrus Graduation Ceremony is Tribute to Resilient Youth

Westchester, NY, June 2015 – They come from all walks of life and challenges and with some daily commutes to Yonkers from as far away as Staten Island. This year, 31 ninth graders celebrated years of academic and social determination on Friday, June 18th, to a standing ovation by families, teachers, alumni and younger students as each received a diploma from the special-education ANDRUS Orchard School. ANDRUS board member Susan Guma shook each graduate’s hand as diplomas were presented.

The graduates, some of whom live on the 106-acre ANDRUS campus in Westchester, were unable to thrive in traditional school settings. Through the efforts of a team of highly trained special education experts, small class settings, individualized attention and support, the youth have gained life skills, the art of managing emotions and academic competency.

Prior to walking through our doors, these youth had been told over and over again, that they could not succeed. Imagine how this undercut their self-worth and self-respect,” urged Dr. Raymond Effinger, Principal, ANDRUS Orchard School. He continued, “Much of our work centers on healing the students, unlocking their passion and abilities, building their skills, and nurturing their understanding that each could lead an amazing and beautiful life. This graduation ceremony is truly a testament and tribute to the hard work achieved by students, their families and our faculty and staff.

The Class of 2015 and its co-valedictorians Mario & David are well prepared for and eager to begin the next chapter in their lives. Some will attend mainstream education at their district high school and others will go to secondary schools specializing in working with youth who have learning, emotional and/or adjustment difficulties.

It’s the goals of the youth we serve that matter — not their perceived limitations. Our students can do anything they are determined to achieve. That confidence shapes both our work and our commitment to each of them. We feel great pride when they believe in themselves as much as we believe in them!” remarked a passionate Bryan R. Murphy, ANDRUS President and CEO.

Orchard School: Located on the sloping hill of a former apple orchard, the nationally-acclaimed and award-winning Orchard School embodies both the comfort of nurturing care and the promise of new opportunities. Approximately 155 students in grades K to 9 attend the Orchard School year-round; 73 students are referred to ANDRUS’ Residential Treatment Program by their local school districts or departments of social services; and 79 are referred to be Day Students by their local school districts. Residential and Day students are educated together in the school program.

ANDRUS: Andrus nurtures the social and emotional well-being in children and their families by delivering a broad range of vital services and by providing research, training and innovative program models that promote standards of excellence for professional performance in and beyond our service community. With programs on campus, in schools and within community-based settings throughout Westchester County, the nonprofit reaches almost 4,500 children and families each year from the New York Metropolitan area. Andrus also operates the Andrus Center for Learning and Innovation (ACLI) and The ANDRUS Sanctuary Institute, which has provided training and consultation to over 300 organizations worldwide in the use of a trauma-sensitive model for treatment and organizational change. Visit to learn more.