A large group represents Perkins at the State House.
The Massachusetts Association of Approved Private Schools (MAAPS) Annual State House Briefing took place on Wednesday, February 8 in Boston, MA. Christian Pappas, a 2016 Perkins graduate, along with senior Robert Wells were among the featured speakers. Several of the State representatives, including Representative Harold J. Naughton, were in attendance to listen to these moving stories about the importance of privately funded special education schools.
Robert – who is a senior – spoke first explaining that he is on the autism spectrum. Because of this, he struggles socially and had a hard time succeeding in a mainstream school. “It is schools like Perkins that gives kids (like me) the hope and happiness they deserve in life,” Robert said. Christian, and many of the other students echoed the importance of being allowed a different way to learn. In his time at Perkins, Christian experienced many successes, but the one he is most proud of is his 120-pound weight loss. “My mental health improved exponentially and that translated to my physical health improving as well,” he said. He ended his impassioned speech with a plea to the representatives in attendance. “There are thousands of people just like me, and it is crucial that we keep funding for special education – not just in Massachusetts but in all of these great United States of America. Without special education, we would not be able to tap into the full potential of these individuals and we would never hear of the great feats they can accomplish.”
Executive Director of MAAPS Jim Majors spoke briefly about the gap between public and private education teacher salaries and the importance of overturning the governor’s rate freeze in Outside Section 65 in order to enable our schools to meet the needs of students with severe disabilities and the growing need for intensive special education programs.
CEO Michael W. Ames noted that he was most proud of our students and the way they presented themselves.“Their ability to speak in front of a crowd was a wonderful testimony – not only to themselves but to the support they have received from family, teachers, and clinicians. The event underscored the incredible value of special education schools around the Commonwealth.”
At the close of the briefing, Representative Harold J. Naughton took Christian and Robert – along with their families and Perkins staff, on a brief tour of the State House culminating in a photo session in the house chamber.