Befitting of its impressive participants, the Perkins 120th Recognition Day ceremony took place amidst brilliant sunshine on Saturday, June 18, on the Manor lawn. Dressed in grand purple gowns and matching mortarboards, the 12 members of Perkins class of 2016 proudly processed across the stage and accepted hard-earned diplomas and words of congratulations from Board President, Charles W. Hughes II, CEO Michael W. Ames and Director of Education, Cindy Wing.
Participating in his first Recognition Day event as the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Michael W. Ames welcomed the audience of students, staff, families, friends, community members, Distinguished Service Award recipients and trustees gathered under the tent. Addressing the students, Dr. Ames said, “You are talented and resilient. I know that each of you have worked hard and overcome challenges.” Acknowledging students’ grit, he continued, “Some of you, I believe, weren’t sure if you would get to this day ;however, through your perseverance, your willingness to work hard and accept support and help, you are here today and should be proud of all you have accomplished.” (The full text of Dr. Ames’ remarks can be found at the link below.)
Kamiylah Alexander delivered the student address, drawing upon the metaphor of the hard work a caterpillar must endure to become a butterfly. Kam reminded fellow graduates and students to “Keep going despite how hard it is. Cherish the moments when you’re smiling, laughing, and enjoying yourself. There will be many more difficult as well as beautiful moments to come. But, just like the precious butterfly, once we have gone through so much, we will be freer. Our significance only grows. At last we have made it to graduation, and if we have gotten this far, we can get farther.” (The full text of Kam’s remarks can be found at the link below.)
As is customary of the annual Recognition Day ceremony, several individuals were presented with Distinguished Service Awards. The 2016 award recipients included: Lancaster Police Department Chief Edwin H. Burgwinkel, Jr., Distinguished Service Award in the Field of Public Service (accepting for Chief Burgwinkel was Detective Everett Moody); children’s book author Ralph Masiello, Distinguished Service Award in the Field of Children’s Literature, and Assistant Director of Education, Sharon Lowry, MSW, Distinguished Service to the Students and Residents of Perkins. Tim Hammond, Assistant Executive Director for Programs, presented a Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously to Melissa “Missy” Manza, LICSW in recognition of her 20-year career at Perkins, most recently as Director of Perkins Behavioral Health. Kerry A. Flathers, Director of Organizational Advancement, and also Missy’s aunt, accepted the award on her behalf.(The full text of these remarks can be found at the link below).
Choral arrangements by the Perkins chorus included renditions of “O, America” and “Shine Your Way.” The highly anticipated slideshow, which chronicles the previous year at Perkins setting photos to music, was met with students’ squeals and laughter, and audience delight. As is tradition, the event concluded with the recessional of the school’s long-standing Alma Mater which begins with the descriptive line: “Ivied Walls of Manor Lawn.” The memorable morning concluded with a celebratory barbecue luncheon shared among family, friends, and administrators at the Janeway Education Center dining room. Guests spilled through the dining room doors to enjoy the glorious June day at outdoor tables