Recognition Day, Perkins Celebrates its Students

Don Lowe, Secretary Marylou Sudders, Martha Bayles, and Dr. Michael Ames

Perkins Recognition Day
Perkins Celebrates its Students

Lancaster, MA – On Saturday, June 15, 2019, Perkins held its annual Recognition Day Ceremony on their campus at 971 Main Street in Lancaster. Twenty-two students from across the state were recognized for their achievements over this past academic year.

Secretary Marylou Sudders, of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, received the 2019 Distinguished Service Award in the Field of Public Service. Sudders was selected to receive the award due to her outstanding leadership and dedication to children, families, and all those individuals across the Commonwealth that need and benefit from human services. From the podium, she remarked “It’s an honor to be with the other recipients who are receiving awards today because it is all about community.” She went on “We come together with different histories, perspectives, challenges, hopes, dreams… but it’s what binds us together – our common humanity – which is what will make things better for all of us. And for those of you who have the courage to talk about your challenges, we all have different abilities. They’re not disabilities. They are different abilities.”

Student Speaker and graduating class member, Anthony Enman, delivered a moving reflection on his time at Perkins. “Ever since the first day I arrived here on campus, I have been regarded as an individual with a voice, and I have been made to feel as if I am more than just a diagnosis.” Anthony also spoke about the challenges he faces as an individual with multiple diagnoses, including autism. “When I was first diagnosed with what was at the time referred to as high functioning autism or Asperger’s Syndrome in the year 2007, much less was known and understood about my disability. Society, as a result, adopted a very confused and unaccepting view on the subject. It is my hope that, one day, Autism will be viewed not as a diagnosis, but simply as a different way of thinking, and acting.”

Dr. Michael Ames, President and CEO of Perkins, reinforced Anthony’s message in his remarks. “Too often, when students arrive here, their educational experiences have been traumatic – for most, school has not been a good experience. Knowing this, we work very hard to help students feel comfortable, to help them be themselves, and to provide the support they need to thrive. We strive to create a community that is welcoming, nurturing, and that supports student learning and success.”

Other 2019 Recognition Day award recipients included:

  • Distinguished Service Award for Service to the Students and Residents at Perkins – Martha Bayles, Longtime Perkins Trustee; Associate Professor of the Practice of the Humanities, Boston College
  • Distinguished Service Award in the Field of Community Service – Sarah and Joel O’Toole, Owners, Bolton Orchards
  • Distinguished Service Award in the Field of Service to Children – Cherie Ansin, Director, Perkins Rein in A Dream


To view the PDF press release, please click here.